Renowned cricket coach P.K. Dharmalingam, who passed away recently in Chennai, was described by Kapil Dev as a “man of vision” and someone who was committed to promoting the game selflessly.
“I got to know of his passing (only) late. I can visualise him at the Chepauk, engaged with young cricketers, working hard to shape their careers.
He was a familiar figure at our camps in Chennai and to me he was special,” Kapil told The Hindu here on Friday.
Dharmalingam, who played 29 matches for Madras and Services, was among the early coaches to impart training to women cricketers. He was also the first coach for L. Sivaramakrishnan and W.V. Raman at the Grand Prix CC.
“I knew him as a very disciplined person. Soft but firm when it came to dealing with the players at camps. His fielding sessions went a long way in helping us become athletic on the field,” Kapil remembered.
A fitness freak himself, Kapil gave credit to Dharmalingam for helping him with some crucial lessons. “He insisted I look after my fitness.
“As a fast bowler, bowling long spells, I knew I had to be fit more than others and Mr. Dharmalingam ensured that I picked up the right habits. He would make me run a lot and I am glad I learnt it early in my career. There was no gym. Running and exercises.
“He was ahead of time in terms of acknowledging the importance of fitness,” Kapil stressed.
“I know Mr. Dharmalingam was a hard taskmaster. Sometimes you would get the feeling his methods were back-breaking but (they were) always aimed at helping you improve.
“He was a gentleman and served the game outstandingly,” said Kapil.