| Intikhab Alam
Calcutta: Former Pakistan captain and World Cup-winning coach Intikhab Alam is game for yet another season with the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA).
“I’m waiting to hear from them' The work I started in 2004-05 isn’t, to my mind, complete and I’ll be happy to return,” Intikhab told The Telegraph, when contacted in Lahore on Wednesday evening.
The 64-year-old rubbished talk in some quarters that he’d been considering an offer from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
“I was approached to take up the directorship of the PCB Academy, but declined' In any case, that offer was made some time ago, not since the last season ended (in India),” Intikhab said.
That should please PCA president Inderjit Singh Bindra, who wasn’t absolutely sure about his availability when one got in touch with him earlier in the day.
For his part, Bindra intends recommending to his working committee that Intikhab be taken on board for another season.
That committee meets on August 5.
“When we renewed Intikhab’s contract last season, the terms were finalised for two years. The contract, though, has to be signed afresh before each season,” Bindra pointed out.
Punjab made the Ranji final (losing to Railways) in Intikhab’s first season, but didn’t do well in 2005-06.
In the shorter version, Punjab emerged zonal toppers both times, but didn’t go beyond the quarters in the national competition.
Under Intikhab’s guidance, however, captain Dinesh Mongia has grown as a batsman and become a pretty reliable left-arm spinner, too.
“Sir has helped me become a better professional' Made me more hungry for big scores' He has changed my mind-set,” is how Mongia put it, speaking exclusively, after being recalled to Team India last week.
Intikhab, incidentally, became a tad emotional when Mongia’s comments were conveyed to him.
“I’m thankful he has remembered me in that manner' I have plenty of time for somebody like Dinesh' He’s disciplined and very focused' I hope he makes the most of the opportunities in Sri Lanka (next month),” he remarked.
Intikhab added: “I’m going to follow Dinesh’s comeback with much interest'”
Even if he didn’t say so, one is confident he would be doing just that.