This Indian coach helps underdogs roar in international cricket | Cricket News – Times of India



VADODARA: When Afghanistan qualified for the ICC World Cup in 2018 and came up with some competitive performances, this Indian was rubbing his hands in glee as he had trained them for four months beginning January 2018.
Mrugang Desai, popularly called Monty, whose family has roots in Gujarat, was the batting coach of the team and played a key role in upskilling the performance of the team from a war-battered country.
Next, it was a deja vu moment for Desai when Nepal, a team he has been coaching since 2023, qualified for the T20 World Cup to be played in June this year. Desai is the head coach of Nepal and has been working hard to make the unit a squad to reckon with in international cricket.
A former cricketer living in Mumbai, Desai took up the gauntlet of coaching underdog cricket teams to extract the best out of them.
“I take it as a challenge (to coach underdogs) and devise strategies to not just coach the teams but also boost their confidence to take on the best. So far, it has been a good stint as a coach,” said the 50-year-old.
Desai worked with the Canadian team as a head coach in the ICC World Cup league division from March 2019 to May 2019. He also served as the batting coach of the UAE squad at the ICC T20 World Cup qualification tournament from Aug 2019 to Nov 2019. Desai joined the West Indies team as a batting coach from Dec 2019 to Dec 2022.
“Working with so many teams from different countries has been a great learning experience for me as well. I could see their culture from up close and understand their likes and dislikes before devising my coaching strategies,” he revealed.
He also has experience of coaching various IPL teams as well as the domestic teams in India. From 2008-2011, Desai was the assistant coach of Rajasthan Royals, and the performance coach for Gujarat Lions from Feb 2016 to March 2017.
Desai played cricket at the club level in Mumbai but he has immense knowledge and passion for coaching.
“Former India cricketer Hanumant Singh was my guru. I spent a lot of time with him at Cricket Club of India in Mumbai. I always wanted to be a coach,” Desai said. He is currently camping in Vapi with the Nepal national cricket team that is playing against Baroda and Gujarat teams.
‘Experiences of Afghanistan players was unsettling’
Coaching the Afghanistan cricket team on UAE cricket grounds was an experience that Desai will never forget.
“Some of them used to share stories of their homes being bombed and their relatives being targeted in Afghanistan. It was unsettling but these players are mentally so strong.”





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