Lalchand Rajput: 15 things to know about India’s World T20 Championship winning cricket manager

Lalchand Rajput, born on December 18, 1961, was an opening batsman who represented India in two Tests and four One-Day Internationals (ODIs). Rajput is now a well-known coach, who was at the helm when India lifted the ICC World T20 2007. Nishad Pai Vaidya picks 15 things you should know about Rajput.

1. Early days

Rajput was born in Mumbai to Sitaram and Premti. His father Sitaram was an employee with the Bhabha Atomic Reasearch Centre (BARC). The Rajputs lived in Chembur, where he took an interest to the game.

2. Ramakant Achrekar

Coach Ramakant Achrekar is well known for his grooming of Sachin Tendulkar. However, the renowned coach has also played a huge role in the development of Rajput. He had identified Rajput’s talent during a camp. In college cricket in Mumbai, Rajput represented Ruia, which was known for its cricket.

3. India under-20s to Sri Lanka

In 1980-81, Rajput was a part of the India under-20s side that travelled to Sri Lanka. That team also featured the likes of Ravi Shastri, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Bharat Arun and Kiran More.

4. First-Class debut against England

In December 1981, Rajput made his First-Class debut against the touring Englishmen in Pune. He batted at No. 3 and scored 38 before being dismissed by Bob Willis. In the second innings, he remained unbeaten on 30. Rajput made his Ranji Trophy debut in 1982.

5. Young India

In 1984, Rajput was a part of a formidable Young India side that travelled to Zimbabwe. Apart from Sidhu and Shastri, there were many other well known players such as Mohammad Azharuddin, Manoj Prabhakar, Raju Kulkarni, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Maninder Singh and Krishnamachari Srikkanth.

6. The national call-up

In early 1985, Rajput hit form in the domestic season and was called up for a couple of One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against England. Making his ODI debut against England in Nagpur, he was dismissed for a duck while opening the batting with Sunil Gavaskar.

7. Test call-up

In 1985, Rajput made his Test debut on the tour to Sri Lanka. Making his debut at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), Colombo, he hit 32 and 61 while opening the batting with Srikkanth. He only played one more Test, where he scored a duck and 12. Gavaskar batted at numbers – five and six during this series.

8. Playing for Scotland

In 1987, Rajput played three matches for Scotland. One of them was an official List A game against Kent. He also played an unofficial game for Scotland against Pakistan, in which he scored 13. In fact, Rajput was a regular in Scotland’s club cricket.

9. Hit 275 against Central Zone in Duleep Trophy 1987-88

During the Duleep Trophy semi-final in 1987 against Central Zone, Rajput scored 275 in the second innings, smashing 23 fours and seven sixes. He missed out in the first innings scoring only 23, when the West Zone piled 676, with Anshuman Gaekwad (195) and Sanjay Manjrekar (278) smashing big tons.

10. Sachin Tendulkar’s first Ranji Trophy captain

Rajput was the captain of the Bombay team when 15-year-old Sachin Tendulkar made his Ranji Trophy debut against Gujarat in 1988. While Tendulkar went on to get a memorable ton, Rajput was unfortunate to be dismissed on 99.

11. Assam move

Rajput’s last game for Bombay was the painful two-run defeat in the Ranji Trophy final of 1990-91. He then moved to Assam for the next season and played for them until 1993.

12. Return to cricket with Vidarbha

In 1996, three years after his last representative game, Rajput returned to domestic cricket with Vidarbha. He played for them until the 1998-99 season.

13. Coaching career

Rajput is one of the well-known coaches in India and has been at the helm with various age group sides and India A. In 2007, he was named the cricket manager of the Indian team at the ICC World T20 2007. Partnering MS Dhoni, Rajput helped India script a memorable title triumph. He stayed on as the cricket manager until the end of the Australia tour in 2008, when India won the tri-series. Thereafter, he has been coaching India A and other representative sides.

14. A cricketer son

Rajput’s son Akhil, is also a cricketer and has played for the Mumbai under-15s. He has been playing age group and university cricket for some time.

15. Lalchand Rajput XI

The Lalchand Rajput XI, a team, has featured in Shalini Bhalekar Under-22 and Under-25 Trophies.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)