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Top coaches of India: Raj Kumar Sharma of West Delhi cricket academy

Childhood coach and mentor of Virat Kohli

 

One of the most famous cricket coaches in recent times has been the 53 year old Raj kumar Sharma, who heads the West Delhi cricket academy. Having played first class cricket for Delhi during 1980s he moved to coaching and set up the West Delhi cricket academy. One of the first students of his academy turned out to be a 8 year kid by the name of Virat Kohli whose father admitted him there. In past interactions with media , Raj Kumar Sharma disclosed that the 8 year old Kohli on first sight ,seemed to be a special talent .in the way he used to hit shots with such power which defied his then young age. Also he used to throw forcefully from the boundary and was a bundle of energy.  Kohli subsequently missed out on a selection of under 14 team which made him very dissappointed but as a good coach Mr Sharma took care of his feelings and on his next oppurtunity he got selected in under 17 squad after which there was no looking back. Since young Virat was very emotional ,his coach took care of this aspect and took him under his wings. The fine tuning of his game continued and he showed tremendous hard work and dedication in order to improve all aspects of his game including his technique which attained perfection under Mr Sharma.  Kohli didnt stop practicing even in rains.  Mr Sharma became a pillar of strength for Kohli specially after a young Virat ‘s father passed away. Soon the accolades started to follow with under 19 World Cup win as captain , selection to senior Indian team, the World cup win in 2011 and so on. A struggle followed in 2014 England tour, when Kohli struggled to the outswingers of Anderson. He came back to India and got back to the drawing board ,working on  his technical shortcomings with Mr Sharma back in his West Delhi academy and few months later cam back from Australia having scored 692 runs in test series by taming Mitch Johnson, who only a year earlier had singlehandedly decimated England in the Ashes.

Even now Kohli whenever he gets time goes and practices under the supervision of Raj Kumar Sharma in his academy, takes his advices  and also helps out the young trainees there after his practice sessions which shows his down to earth friendly  nature and his big heart. Someone who never forgets his roots.  Most of these attributes he developed while getting trained under Raj Kumar Sharma who has always been very forthcoming in his opinions and a hard task master. To top it all Virat showed his gratitude by gifting his coach a car on teachers day in 2014. A big hearted gesture.

For his skilled coaching abilities , Raj Kumar Sharma was bestowed the Dronacharya award in 2016. Recently he had applied for the head coach position of Delhi Ranji trophy team but was not selected for the post rather surprisingly even after he coached the under 23 Delhi team to CK Nayudu trophy success earlier. However some solace came in the form of his selection as head coach of the Malta National team in ICC qualifying tournament.

West Delhi cricket academy is one of the top cricket academies in New Delhi and has acquired more mileage after Virat Kohli’s continuous success as an international cricketer.  With Raj Kumar Sharma’s continued association, we keep hoping of more good quality cricketers to come out of that academy and hopefully few international cricketers too.

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Amitava Mukherjee

A commerce graduate with work experience in Banking sector. An avid sports enthusiast. Big fan of soccer cricket and tennis

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