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Niraj Odedra extends contract as national cricket head coach

Niraj Odedra recently guided Indian side Saurashtra to glory in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 50-overs competition (Photograph supplied)

Niraj Odedra is set to return for another spell as national cricket coach, The Royal Gazette can reveal.

The Indian is now awaiting for his work permit to be processed by immigration with the terms of his deal still to be announced.

“We have talked with immigration and are all fine with it,” Allan Douglas, the BCB high performance chairman, said. “We are happy with what we have to do and sign off on. It’s just a matter of the legal stuff that’s all.”

Asked when Odedra could possibly arrive, Douglas added: “I can’t put a time on his arrival. We just have to wait.”

Odedra’s initial contract of two and a half months expired in September, during which time he presided over the island’s involvement in the third leg of the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B, which was held in Jersey

His services are again being secured with a view of the island qualifying for the 2024 T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the United States.

Before returning to India, Odedra mapped out a vigorous training program for the national team.

“He left with Cal Waldron [assistant coach] what’s got to be done, when it’s got to be done and it’s being carried out,” Douglas said. “He’s in touch with everybody constantly.”

Odedra played 26 first-class games between 1998 and 2003 for Saurashtra, one of three Ranji Trophy sides based in Gujarat on the west coast of India.

He presently serves as the club’s head coach after succeeding India international Karsan Ghavri, who opted not to continue after guiding the club to their maiden Ranji Trophy title during the 2019-20 season.

Douglas views Odedra’s involvement as a great addition to the national cricket set-up.

“He’s a wonderful asset,” he said. “It’s a new person on the block and gives a different spin on maybe the similar stuff so it’s certainly as asset.”

Douglas said the BCB hope to secure the Indian’s services for at least two-years.

“The idea is to get us to the World Cup, so that’s certainly like a two-year thing to get us there,” he added.

“We want for him two years because once we get through September then we are going off to the World Cup. That’s the intent.”

Odedra put another feather in his cap after coaching Saurashtra to their second Vijay Hazare Trophy title and their first for 15 years after beating rivals Maharashtra by five wickets in the final last week.

“That’s wonderful and exciting. It goes to show the calibre of person that we are bringing on board and the level that he’s at, so imagine what he is going to bring to the table,” Douglas added.

“If we can suck up at least 60 per cent of what he is bringing from that other team we will be all right.”

Odedra is a keen proponent of fitness and credits his team’s recent success to the players’ physical condition.

“The players are supremely fit,” he told The New Indian Express. “Fitness plays an important role in white-ball cricket and our triumph here is proof of it.”

The national team will launch their 2024 T20 World Cup qualifying campaign when they compete against Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, Panama, Suriname and hosts Argentina in an ICC Sub-Regional Qualifier from February 25 to March 4 next year.

The top-three teams will then be joined by Canada for the Americas Region Qualifier Finals to be held in Bermuda from September 28 to October 8, 2023.

The eventual winner will clinch the last World Cup qualifying spot in the Americas Region.

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Published December 08, 2022 at 7:46 am (Updated December 08, 2022 at 10:48 am)

Niraj Odedra extends contract as national cricket head coach

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