Indian cricket coach Gurcharan Singh was awarded Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, for coaching Delhi and India cricketers. Among other sports individuals to be accorded Padma Awards were Kalarippayattu exponent S.R.D. Prasad Gurukkal and Thang Ta guru K Shanathoiba Sharma.
Gurcharan, 87, whose playing career couldn’t transcend beyond first class cricket, is known for having produced 12 international cricketers and over a hundred domestic players — from Kirti Azad to Ajay Jadeja, Maninder Singh to the more recent Murali Karthik, he had shaped their careers and touched their lives.
He was also the second cricket coach in the country to win the prestigious Dronacharya Award after Desh Prem Azad, having won the honor back in 1986.
Such was his impact on players that back in 2015, to mark his 80th birth anniversary, India and Delhi cricketers had got along to play a T20 exhibition match in the Indian capital.
“He was our coach and guru for life,” echoed many who had come to revel in the nostalgia. “I remember I wanted to leave cricket and sir came to my home on his bike to pick me up,” recalled Maninder Singh, the former India and Delhi spinner.
Singh founded the Dronacharya Cricket Foundation in Delhi apart from running two cricket clubs, Delhi Blues and National Stadium Cricket Centre.
Earlier this year, Gurcharan came out to bat during a friendly contest between Delhi Veterans cricket team and Old Patelians Cricket Association, with the legendary coach representing the Patelians.