Puducherry will make their debut in the Ranji Trophy this season after BCCI gave their go-ahead for nine new teams in the tournament including the Southern Union Territory. The Puducherry cricket board is trying its best to get a very good squad at its disposal and has kick-started its preparations by naming former India pacer Avishkar Salvi as its head coach for the upcoming season.
Salvi has been a stalwart for Mumbai for whom he played a majority of his cricket and has picked up 169 FC wickets in 6 games at an average of 25.72. He was also called up to the Indian team and has represented the Men in Blue in four ODIs.
Salvi's assistant will be Onkar Khanvilkar while former Rajasthan wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik has been named as the fielding coach. Their under-23 team will be coached by former Rajasthan Royals and Gujarat Lions leg-spinner Pravin Tambe while Kumar Subramaniam will be his assistant.
Talking about the selection of coaches to Sportstar, P. Damodaran, secretary, Cricket Association of Pondicherry (CAP) conceded that his first choice was J Arun Kumar, who led Siechem Madurai Panthers to TNPL victory recently. But, he was not available for such a long duration and that made them appoint Salvi as their coach. He also admitted that the reason behind having a Mumbai-based think-tank is because he wants the Mumbai cricket culture in Puducherry.
“I initially wanted J. Arun Kumar as coach. But he was not interested in a role that demanded six months of commitment. He was keener on shorter assignments. Then, I decided on Salvi. I know him personally and he has a smart cricketing brain and can get things done. And he has featured in Ranji Trophy triumphs for Mumbai, brings with him the tough and uncompromising Mumbai approach. He is also the chief administrator for cricket in the BPCL team that has several India cricketers. So Salvi knows his job. I am very keen on bringing the famed Mumbai cricket culture to Puducherry,” said Damodaran.
He also added that Mumbai all-rounder Abhishek Nayar and Himachal Pradesh batsman Paras Dogra have been roped in as outstation players.