Monday, April 8, 2019

Lifetime Achievement Award for Baig Sir

On April 2, 2019, Srujana Cultural & Literary Organisation honored former NIS and BCCI Coach Mirza Rahmatullah Baig with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University as part of its annual Sports Excellence awards. The award was presented by Hon Justice of High Court of Telangana T. Amarnath Goud, Dronacharya awardee Shri S.M. Arif and Dr. Avula Manjulatha, former
Baig sir being felicitated - his old friend S.M. Arif putting the pagdi on
Vice-Chancellor, P.S. Telugu University. Srujana Organisation Chairperson Smt. Anjana Chowdary welcomed the gathering and General Secretary Ramya Teja gave the vote of thanks. I went to watch his felicitation with Ramaraju. Ehtesham and Baliguddin joined us as well.
Wonderful to see

There were three categories of awards – Lifetime Achievement Award, Sports Excellence awards and Young Achievers. In Sports excellence Coaches such as P.G. Palguna (Football), V. Venkateshwara Rao (Rowing), K. Daniel (Cricket), Ramesh Goud (Karate), S. Swarnalatha (Gymnastics), B. Kameshwara Rao (Hockey), T. Jyotishwar (Kabaddi), Jitender Gupta (Roller Skating), Sandeep Kumar (Shooting) were honored. Shekhar Goud received a special award for adventure sports. Young achievers included Soumya (National Football Team captain), Nireekshan Reddy (kabaddi), Bhanu Prakash (shooting), Vishal Jadhav (gymnastics), T. Sunil (Rowing), Aryan Karra (Roller skating), T. Tarun Tej (Roller skating), Ameesha Mannut (Karate) and Preethi Gonda (Karate).
A picture with our Coach - Ahmed on the right!
Baig sir was born on January 21, 1940. He studied in Aliya High School and played cricket at a competitive level. He joined the Indian Navy and applied for a course from the National Institute of Sports, Patiala from where he graduated in 1963. Mr. Baig played Ranji Trophy for Services (1958-1968) and Hyderabad (1969-70), represented North Zone in the Duleep Trophy (1964-65). He served the Board of Cricket Control of India as South Zone Coach while on deputation from the Sports Authority of India during the period 1977-1983. He has been coaching for the last 50 years and still continues to actively coach to this day. He is a qualified curator and umpire as well.
Mr. Baig started coaching in 1963 when he was employed with the Indian Navy. Till date, he has coached over 35 internationals and 150 first-class cricketers. He was one of the coaches who were involved in training Team India players before the 1983 World Cup.
All awardees 
As the BCCI Coach Baig sir spoke about the time he assisted Col Hemu Adhikari to coach the Indian cricketers. A favorite story of his was about Kapil Dev whom he would ask to stress on batting much to Kapil's bemusement. In Hyderabad, he has coached Md. Azharuddin, Arshad Ayub, Venkatapathi Raju and a host of other first class cricketers. He was the Coach of the India Under 19 team which was led by Ravi Shastri and had names like Kirti Azad, Chandrakant Pandit, W.V. Raman, L. Sivaramakrishnan, Sadanand Vishwanath, B. Arun, Lalchand Rajput, Navjyot Singh Sidhu among others. Other internationals he had coached include Kiran More, M.S.K. Prasad, Ashish Kapoor, Sanjay Manjrekar, Raman Lamba, to name some. Cricketers such as VVS Laxman, Rahul  Dravid, Robin Uthappa have sought his advise and expertise in the recent past.
Baig sir with Azhar
He coached the following teams in Ranji, Under 16 and Under 19 teams. for 6 years (1977-83) under the BCCI scheme – Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra. He has been deputed to the republic of Maldives for cricket coaching under ITEC, from Ministry of External Affairs from 1987-91. In Hyderabad Mr. Baig has been a stellar figure, offering coaching at the Lal Bahadur Stadium for thousands of young cricketers for almost three decades. 
With Gary Sobers

It was wonderful to see Baig sir receive this award from a cultural and literary organisation who recognises sports. Unfortunately sports bodies do not seem to recognise sportspersons as much.
With L. Sivaramakrishnan
I first met Baig sir when I was a fourteen-year-old school boy studying in All Saints High School. He had been called to coach us for a week by Brother Joseph and I remember how he sorted out my follow through issues so well. He took me aside and made me do the drill until it was fully sorted out. I believe my performance that year was largely due to his inputs and I played South Zone Under 15. In the one month South Zone camp at Bangalore in 1982 he taught me the art of bowling a beautiful outswinger which came in good use for me for many years. 
With his students - new and old
Sasi, Saiket, Bhupinder, Prakash, Ahmad, Me, Abdulla and Anuj, Mary (kneeling)
Baig sir retains the same passion even today, 37 years later. His pasison for the game and for coaching has not waned a bit. It is nice to see that extra zip back in his stride last weekend. 

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