Tripura hopes to boost state cricket by appointing Lance Klusener as coach

Klusener, known for his aggressive batting style and medium-paced bowling, has played over 220 matches for the Proteas in ODI and Test cricket, scoring 5,482 runs and taking 272 wickets.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, TCA vice president Timir Chanda said the move was the result of a series of steps taken by a new state association committee formed last October, including developing infrastructure, creating new facilities for players, bringing former cricketers into management, holding open Test camps for bowlers, batsmen, kickers, etc.

We advertised in late March and requested coaches for various teams in the state, including under-15, under-16, under-19, senior teams, girls teams, etc. Many well-known former cricket players and coaches applied. Among them, we selected several, including former Australian cricketer and Sri Lankan national team coach Dev Watmore and Lance Klusener, Chanda said.

Although talks with Dev Watmore, who coached Sri Lanka to victory in the 1996 ODI World Cup, were progressing, he declined at the last minute for personal reasons.

We later talked to Lance Klusener; we wanted him to work at least 120 days. However, he agreed to 100 days because he had other commitments in South Africa and Afghanistan. That’s how it started, added the head of TCA.

Klusener is scheduled to visit Tripura this week and train novice cricketers for 20 days.

We all know what kind of player he was. He was a phenomenal white-ball cricketer. He was the best tournament player at the 1999 World Cup. He arrives in Calcutta on June 02 and flies to Agartala the next day. When we talked to him about his appointment, he didn’t want to call himself a head coach or director. He said he wanted to share all the cricket experience with everyone, including the senior team, junior team, girls teams, etc. That’s a great thing. Everyone will learn and gain experience from it.

Chanda, a former state team captain who played in 71 Ranji Trophy first class matches for Tripura, expects to call up Klusener for another month in July/August.

We will try to get him into the BCCI tournaments in October or December. From my side or TCA’s side, we will ask him if he can go to the Vijay Hazare and Mushtaq Ali tournaments and share his experience,our team will definitely benefit from it, Timir Chanda said, adding that having celebrity cricketers to help, coach and assist the state’s budding cricketers has made the state’s cricketing community very happy.

We believe that Tripura cricket has a very right future. Our committee believes that everyone will benefit from it, said the TCA chief.

This is not the first time an international cricketer has coached Tripura State players: former Indian national team players such as Ashish Kapoor have done so before.

TCA signed former Indian keeper Vriddhiman Saha as first class captain last year and hopes to keep him for the coming season as well.

The BJP-led Tripura government is pushing for infrastructure development in various sports, including cricket. The flood lighting system at the Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) stadium in Agartala, development of cricket infrastructure in various areas are the main ones. Chanda said that once the international stadium is ready by the next eight to 10 months, plans are underway to get permission to hold international cricket competitions in the state.

Work on the gallery and media pavilion should also be completed by the next 8-10 months. The outfield is already 80 percent complete, and the fields will be ready by 2-3 months.

We hope to be able to host international matches. We need good hotels. On the TCA side, we hope we can host international matches. We will talk to the BCCI, we will need to talk to the ICC as well, he said

Earlier this month, the state government got former Indian skipper and former BCCI chairman Sourav Ganguly to agree to become Tripura’s tourism ambassador. The former Indian captain suggested that cricket could be a very good sector for tourism development in the state.

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