Cricket

The rise of ‘Buddha’

Sanjay Bangar.

Sanjay Bangar.   | Photo Credit: S_S_Kumar

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The recent stint with King’s XI Punjab may have brought Sanjay Bangar into the limelight but it was his long involvement with the Railways team that brought to the fore his man-management skills.

They call him ‘Buddha’ for his calm demeanour but Sanjay Bangar can be assertive when the situation arises. His elevation as assistant coach of the Indian team should not surprise his current and former teammates from Railways. He was always seen as the man to support his colleagues and he would be expected to do precisely that in this hour of despair for Indian cricket.

Regardless of Bangar’s performance as the back-stage motivator in England, it is to his credit that the Board found him for the job. It is the timing that makes his job all the more important.

“I know he will deliver. He has a strong mind, superb work ethic and fine reading of the game,” said former Railways coach Vinod Sharma, who was instrumental in advising Bangar to pursue a career in coaching.

On his assignment Bangar said, “I don’t believe in looking at the past. It is a huge responsibility.”

The recent stint with King’s XI Punjab may have brought him into the limelight but it was his long involvement with the Railways team that brought to the fore his man-management skills. “I love being in the thick of action,” he would say at the Karnail Singh Stadium, which was almost his second home.

Unsung player

For an unsung player from an unsung team, Bangar could take pride in the wealth of inputs he had from Yere Goud, Kartik Murali and Abhay Sharma, the quartet being the nucleus of Railways’ rise as a cricket force on the domestic circuit. It was in the fitness of things that Bangar savoured the Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup triumphs, having worked tirelessly to whip up a combination that could flatten the best of oppositions.

What endeared Bangar to his colleagues was his humility. He would not compromise on strictness as a captain but rarely imposed his authority. He loved being a player. You could expect Bangar to happily share the dormitory accommodation at Railways camps, as he did once leaving the comforts of a five-star hotel with the Indian team to be with his Railways teammates.

“I am more comfortable with my Railways mates,” was how he put it.

Bangar, 41, with an experience of 165 first-class matches, can look to serve Indian cricket for long as a coach. Given his potential, Bangar’s international career as a player was definitely worth more than 12 Tests and 15 ODIs.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 11:50:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/the-rise-of-buddha-sanjay-bangar/article6332486.ece

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