By BV Swagath
Desh Prem Azad, one of the most well known Coaches in Indian Cricket passed away on Friday at the age of 75 in Mohali. Azad, who is a former first-class cricketer, was the coach of one of the best cricketers in the history of the sport – Kapil Dev!
Apart from Kapil, Azad had produced other international players namely Yograj Singh (Yuvraj Singh’s father), Chetan Sharma and Ashok Malhotra. Desh Prem Azad was honoured by the Government of India with the Dronacharya Award in 1986; three years after Kapil Dev had won the World Cup in England.
Azad who had established a cricket academy in Chandigarh, had played in 19 first class matches between 1953 and 1973. He made his debut at the age of 14 when he was just in the 9th class. Azad represented the Maharaja of Patalia's XI, Southern Punjab and Haryana in first class cricket.