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Prabhakar moots, JSCA mulls
- Ex-Indian all-rounder keen to coach Jharkhand Ranji team

Ranchi/ Jamshedpur, Aug. 9: Former Test all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar wants to “groom more Dhonis” for the Jharkhand Ranji cricket team, but Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) will play the final umpire.

The JSCA president, Amitabh Choudhary, told The Telegraph that he met Prabhakar this evening. “We discussed the possibilities of his taking up the onus of coaching the Jharkhand Ranji team. But there are many factors to consider before the final decision, which will depend on the JSCA management committee meeting that will be held shortly,” he said.

Prabhakar (48), the first Indian fast bowler to master the art of reverse swing, an Indian opener as well as a two-season coach for Delhi Ranji team, was in Jamshedpur today for a business engagement. He came to Ranchi in the evening to catch the New Delhi fight.

Obviously, his presence would add more teeth to the Jharkhand youngsters, upcoming fast bowler Varun Aaron for instance.

The man who has played 39 Tests, 130 ODIs and scalped 96 wickets knows this well.

“I am interested in coaching Jharkhand’s youngsters. But the offer from the state body should be fair and professional,” he said at Jamshedpur this morning, before meeting JSCA president Amitabh Choudhary in Ranchi later in the evening.

That the JSCA is keen to have his experience is certain, but the nitty-gritty of his role has to be sorted out.

Rajesh Verma, JSCA secretary, told The Telegraph that they would “love to have him”. “But we have to see if we need him as a coach or a consultant,” he added.

Earlier, former UP spinner Rajinder Singh Hans was pulled in as a Ranji coach for Jharkhand in 2008. Veterans Padmakar ‘Paddy’ Shivalkar and Anand Shukla were hired as consultants by Bihar Cricket Association.

Prabhakar also held forth on the subject closest to his heart. Vocal in his criticism of Team India’s poor show in England, he said: “Unlike England, we didn’t do our homework well. Barring Zaheer Khan, we don’t have capable bowlers. We didn’t take new openers. Rahul Dravid opened the innings in the second Test at Nottingham, exposing chinks in the middle order,” he said.

He also said India’s Test ranking had suffered. “I think India is secondary to IPL for our cricketers,” he quipped.

The former opener also said that R.P. Singh, who replaced an unfit Zaheer, was not the right man. “R. Ashwin would have been a better choice,” he said.

But he had words of praise for skipper M.S. Dhoni. “Despite pressure, he’s doing a nice job.”

What about decision review system (DRS) that has earned both praise and flak? “It depends on how you look at technology. I think DRS will help bowlers,” Prabhakar said.

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