The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Big challenge: Malhotra

Calcutta: After ending a distinguished career as cricketer, Ashok Malhotra has more or less been in the news, be it during his stint as national selector or by questioning the justification of forming a new players’ body.

Few knew he was also pursuing a career in coaching and that the former middle-order bat has completed a Level 3 course at the Australian Cricket Academy. The BCCI has acknowledged this effort of his by appointing him the India A coach for the tour of West Indies.

India A will take part in the Carib Beer Series (called Busta Cup earlier) during the February 8-March 8 trip.

“It’s a big challenge for the players and for me. It’s their chance to prove they have it in them to make the national team. Some of them have already played at the highest level, which makes us a formidable lot,” Malhotra said Friday.

“Winning this tournament will be big feather in our cap and we know we will be up against some good teams. This tournament is special because the matches are four-dayers, something we don’t get very often these days.”

Malhotra reckoned his stint as selector has made his job simpler. “I had been a selector for four years and seen most of these guys from close. Even they know me, so it will be easy to work with them.”

Talking about the squad, Malhotra felt it had the right blend of youth and experience.

“There are also these exciting talents like A.T. Rayudu and Amit Mishra. I think we are a good lot and looking forward to the tour positively.

“This is a good opportunity for these players to make most of such a chance that was lacking in our playing days” Malhotra observed.

The squad is scheduled to leave from Delhi on Thursday. There will be no preparatory camp because of a set of Ranji Trophy matches beginning Saturday.

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