Indian Premier League team Sahara Pune Warriors on Monday announced former Australian opener Geoff Marsh as their head coach while ex-England all-rounder Dermot Reeve will be the assistant coach.
Announcing the two coaches, team owner and Sahara India Pariwar Chairman Subrata Roy said players from Uttar Pradesh would be given priority while choosing the squad for his side which would make its debut next year.
“For any team, coaches are the most important part and we are delighted to have Australian opener Geoff Marsh as head coach of Sahara Pune Warriors and former Englan all-rounder Dermot Reeve as his deputy,” Roy told reporters here.
Marsh, a right-handed batsman, played 50 Tests for Australia between 1985 and 1992, besides featuring in 117 ODIs from 1986 to 1992. He was the coach of the 1999 World Cup-winning Australian side. He was also Zimbabwe coach between 2001 and 2004.
Reeve, on the other hand, played three Tests in 1992 besides also featuring in 29 ODIs between 1991 and 1996. He served as Twenty20 bowling coach for New Zealand in 2008.
Asked why the team opted for foreign coaches instead of roping in Indians, Roy said that the appointment was based on the basis of past achievement as player and coach.
“It is not so that we didn’t have Indian coaches, but cricket is for the whole world and not for one country. There are coaches, but they have been selected in the interest of the team,” he said.
He said that the Sahara Pune Warriors had looked into the credentials of eight coaches, including two Indians, before finalising the two.
“We sat with eight coaches of whom two were Indians, but selection was based on the merit, background of the coaches, their achievements as a players and coach and their coaching abilities,” he said.
“I am hopeful that they are really going to contribute for us,” he added.
Roy said players from Uttar Pradesh will get priority while selecting the squad.
“There are very good players in the state which has given very good cricketers. We have very promising youngsters. As more than 35 players are to be selected in the team, players from UP will definitely get priority and special consideration would be given to them,” he said.
Roy said that the activities of Sahara Pune Warriors would not be confined to only three months of IPL, but would be active throughout the year.
“We plan to send our team to send to other countries to play cricket. They will travel to the other countries like Latin America to promote cricket as so many countries are eager to develop the game there after Twenty20,” he said.
Asked who were the players his franchisee would like to have in his side, Roy said it would depend upon the BCCI’s decision on the issue of retention of players by the already existing eight teams.
“We feel that the two new teams should get a little playing field. The rules said that each team can retain maximum four players. We want that there should be an open auction so teams are balanced,” he said.
“Teams should be more competitive and hope that we will get a chance to select from all the available players from the country and abroad,” he added.
On the hectic IPL schedule, Roy said discussions were already being held on this issue.
“It’s an important point and the most strenuous factor is travelling and it’s taxing mentally. There should be something like the players should rest for two-three matches in between. Something will be worked out in this direction,” he said.
He said Sahara opted Pune as the base of its team as infrastructure was lacking in UP.
“Kanpur was the only option, but infrastructure there is not upto the mark. Everyone including players were having reservations. In Lucknow, we don’t have a right stadium. We also have to look into commercial aspect as well,” he said.
Asked whether he will have Pakistani players in his team, Roy said personally he wanted them on board.
“But it does not depend on us,” he said.
Marsh said that as a coach the challenge would be to bring good cricketers from different countries and make them gel.
“The team winning IPL have done this very well. They played as a team and gel together. That’s the role of a coach and we will be working on that,” he said.
“The IPL is the most exciting thing to happen to world cricket and Sahara Pune Warriors is in turn the most exciting thing to happen to IPL. I am extremely excited about this opportunity,” he added.