Former coach of India cricketers Kapil Dev and Chetan Sharma and Dronacharya awardee, Desh Prem Azad, died on Friday at the age of 75 following a cardiac arrest.
He is survived by wife and two sons, Sanjeev and Monish Aggarwal. His cremation will take place at Sector 25 cremation ground at 11am on Saturday.
Azad, who was battling illness for the last few months, had been in and out of hospital and was admitted again on Thursday to a hospital in Mohali.
Born in Amritsar on February 2, 1938, Azad played 19 first class matches representing Haryana, Maharaja of Patiala's XI and Southern Punjab and scored 658 runs and took eight wickets.
But his true calling came as a coach. His ability to identify and then hone raw talent saw him training and coaching players like Kapil Dev, Chetan Sharma, Ashok Malhotra, Yograj Singh and Harbhajan Singh and numerous others. He joined as a coach of Sports Authority of India (SAI) at the Sector 16 cricket stadium in 1964 and also retired from there.
In between, he not only honed the skills of many India players but was also in-charge of India's first pace bowling academy started in 1992.
"He was well on August 14. All his tests were fine. But on Thursday he had to be rushed to hospital where he suffered cardiac arrest on Friday," Azad's son Monish Aggarwal said.
He was director of PCA's Non-Residential Cricket Academies being run across the state to identify and coach youngsters. He was the chairman of the sports committee of the UT administrator's advisery council.
Sports world remembers coach par-excellence
"Really sad to know about the death of DP Azad sir, coach of so many great cricketers from northern India. RIP Azad sir," tweeted Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh.
"He shaped the careers of many international players. In his death, the region has lost a dedicated, disciplined and devoted coach," MP Pandove, PCA secretary and former BCCI treasurer, said remembering the days he played in Azad's company for erstwhile Southern Punjab.
"It's sad. We lost a good coach. I worked with him when I was Punjab director sports. My condolences to family. May his soul rests in peace," said former Olympian Milkha Singh.
"Me, Kapil and Yograj Singh took coaching from him. I used to play hockey and Kapil took me to him one day, saying I wanted to play cricket. He immediately recognised my talent and asked me to take up bowling. He was a gem of a person and I haven't seen a coach like him," Rakesh Jolly, a former cricketer.