Many men have come and gone but one person who has remained constant during all the years that Rajasthan Royals has been in the IPL is the silent and diminutive Zubin Bharucha. As the Head of cricket at RR, he has played many roles in the Royal’s cricket structure.
Zubin has quite an impeccable record as a cricketer. He played his first class cricket for Mumbai, at a time when they were indestructible. He has a unique distinction, similar to that of Sachin Tendulkar of scoring a century in his very first Ranji Trophy match, as well as in the Irani Trophy. Mumbai’s team in those days boasted of several Test players. Zubin, unfortunately only got to play when the big guns were away. The frustrated Parsi boy, one of the last from his community to have played first class cricket in India, decided to change course and complete a Masters in Business Administration.
Cricket is ingrained in Zubin’s blood and his love for the game brought him back to serve as a coach and mentor. He was one of the pioneers to start the World Cricket Academy. They were instrumental in bringing into India, cricket players from overseas. This was an instant success as young cricketers from England and Australia were sent to the WCA to experience the conditions in India.
He thrives on interaction with youngsters from India and Overseas and enjoys assisting them in their quest to play at the higher level of cricket. This is what drives the elegant cover-driver to cricket now.
Zubin’s association with one of the owners of RR, Manoj Badale, resulted in a significant change in his life. Manoj brought Zubin in to run a new show called "Cricket Star", a cricket program to unearth raw talent in India.
The hunt for finding budding Indian cricketers had a tremendous response. Several of the chosen lot went on to play domestic and International cricket. The satisfaction and the smile on the faces of Zubin and Manoj are so evident, especially when they recall tales and stories of how they implemented the program. Giving an opportunity to the unknown and undiscovered talented Indian cricketers was an ingenious idea and a boon for Indian cricket.
Their partnership continued with Rajasthan Royals. The “Cricket Star” program turned out to be a blessing in disguise. This gave them a better insight into the talented uncapped players of India more than the other franchisees. The Indian cricket experts and followers were surprised when some of them played a major part in RR’s success in the inaugural IPL. The importance of uncapped players and their performance soon became a vital ingredient of a team’s success. The revolutionary idea has played a major part in the career of young cricketers. The IPL has become an important platform for uncapped players to get recognition and to possibly play for the country.
Zubin in all his years with RR has been a foot soldier and a talent scout for them. He fulfils the role of a casting director, as in the 20-20 format of the game, specialists in all areas of the game have become very essential.
One of Zubin’s highlights in life has been his association with Rahul Dravid. Both of them are very plan and process driven individuals. Analysing and assessing through the use of concrete data and technology are just some of the ways in which they think and plan. Zubin pleasantly recalls as to how, Dravid on several occasions, late in the night or early mornings, would wake him up to discuss or debate issues.
Zubin as a coach is a boon for the youngsters and an ideal sounding board for the seniors. He has many years of experience and blessed with a kind and cool temperament. An easily approachable and great to interact with, Rajasthan Royals is fortunate to have Zubin by their side.
About the author:
Yajurvindra Singh is a former cricketer who represented India between 1977 and 1979. He enjoys the unique distinction of achieving 2 world records – 5 catches in an innings, and 7 catches in a match - on his debut.
Disclaimer: Please note that the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Rajasthan Royals or its management.