THE Madhya Pradesh cricket team coach Balwinder Singh Sandhu has promised to promote unbiased selection in the team. “Its not important which City they hail from. To me the sole criterion in selection of players is their performance,” Sandhu told Hindustan Times when reminded how the Madhya Pradesh team often faces allegations of being heavily studded with Indore players.
Sandhu’s emphasis is on teamwork rather than individual performance. The former Indian fast bowler who has succeeded Devashish Nilosey as new coach was in the City to attend the opening ceremony of the Manish Agnihotri Memorial All-India Cricket Tournament organised at Old Campion Grounds on Monday.
Although his stint in the Indian cricket team was short, Sandhu is still remembered for his delivery in the 1983 World Cup final that bowled Gordon Greenidge. The ball complexly beat the experienced West Indies batsman. Sandhu’s remarkable feat provided the much-needed breakthrough to Indians in the final.
Sandhu who has coached Baroda in the Ranji Trophy and West Zone in the Duleep Trophy, said the mantra for any winning combination was teamwork. “There are specific roles for every player in the team. If he plays that role to his best, the result will be victory for the team,” said Sandhu.
Sandhu’s most productive period was with Mumbai – the team he coached from 1996 to 1998-99 and helped become Ranji Trophy champion in 1996-97. He later served as bowling coach at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
On prospects of inducting new blood in the Madhya Pradesh team, Sandhu was non-committal. “I have just been appointed coach of the MP team. I need time to work on every aspect of the team,” he remarked.
Madhya Pradesh will begin their Ranji Trophy season against Railways at New Delhi on November 23. A right-arm medium-pace bowler of the early eighties, Sandhu could swing the ball both ways.
In the wake of his fine show in the World Cup, it came as a bit of a surprise that Sandhu’s international career did not last very long. In 1983-84, he played in only one test against West Indies, without much success and was not considered thereafter though he played in a few more one-day internationals.