Dinesh Lad has been coaching cricket since 1993, producing players such as current India captain Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Shardul Thakur, among many others. He has dedicated 26 years of his life to coaching players in Mumbai, yet he has never been paid. Around 80 of his wards went on to represent Mumbai’s domestic giants in various age-group competitions.
The veteran has been awarded the Dronacharya Award in 2022 for his lifetime contribution to coaching, and the award ceremony will be held on November 30 at Rashtrapati Bhawan in the presence of India’s President, Draupadi Murmu.
Lad runs his coaching academy at Swami Vivekananda School in Borivali, Mumbai. He not only nurtures young talent, but also welcomes aspiring cricketers to his own shelter if they need a place to stay.
Like My Guru, I Always Look For Talent – Dinesh Lad
Dinesh Lad shared his coaching memories, saying that he followed his guru Ramakanth Achrekar’s footsteps, and never charged a penny from his wards. He added that he had never considered coaching as a commercial aspect.
“I started coaching in 1993. I still remember, we were playing against Shardashram Vidyamandir in the Harris Shield quarterfinal in 1998. That was the biggest day of my life. Shardashram was one of the biggest teams those days. My Guru was sitting beside me. We defeated Shardashram and he gave a pat on my back and said ‘well done’.”
“That appreciation made me more focussed and dedicated. He never used to take money from poor children like us. Those days, the fee was around Rs 7 but that was beyond our reach.
“So he never demanded fees from poor kids. I follow him in that aspect as well as I don’t charge a single penny from my wards. Whatever I am today, it’s because of cricket. When I started coaching, I never thought about its commercial aspect. Like my Guru, I always look for talent.”
He claimed that this is the most prestigious award a coach can get in this country. He believes that this gift will lead to many good things in the future and hopes that the government will provide him with a platform so that he can continue his job.
He said, “This is the biggest award of my life. This award has given me a different status in society. My respect has increased a lot. This is the biggest award a coach can get in this country. I believe this award will lead to many good things in the future. I hope the government gives me a ground so that I can continue with my work.”