Cassian Baliarsingh

The Odisha Cricket Association has had several head coaches for the men’s cricket team over the years. Shockingly, no head coach has ever completed a full one-year tenure in OCA’s history.

Recently, the OCA appointed former Indian player Dinesh Mongia as the head coach of the Odisha senior men’s team for 2023-24. The association has selected Mongia as the head coach of the men’s team on the basis of his experience and expertise.

However, the question arises if he can complete his full tenure or will quit like other previous coaches. Several head coaches have come and gone, but no remarkable improvement has been witnessed in the performance of the team in the games.

Odisha has had head coaches in the form of Venkatpathy Raju, Saba Karim, Balwindar Singh Sandhu, Wasim Jaffer, and Australia cricketer Michael Vaughan. Even as lakhs of money were being spent, the coaches did not complete their tenure even for one year. 

Many of them quit only after three to six months. During Jaffer’s tenure, Odisha won only one Ranji Trophy. However, their performance in T-20 and ODI was not encouraging.

When contacted, OCA Secretary, Sanjay Behera said, “A three-member committee comprising Kishore Mania, Ajit Jayaprakash, and Chinmaya Jena has appointed Dinesh Mongia as the head coach of Odisha men’s team. Hopefully, he will put his experience to work and bring out the best in the team.”

However, many are of the opinion that if a local player is chosen as a head coach then things might change for the good.

“Who is a better player than Debasish Mohanty from Odisha? He would make a great coach for the team. Similarly, Prabhanjan Mallick is one of the finest players and is an all-rounder. However, we have failed to take advantage. We also have Rashmi Ranjan Parida. We have failed to use our local players and coaches for the betterment of the team. They would have given far better results than coaches who are being brought from other places,” said Pawan Agrawal, former Ranji cricketer.

When contacted, the OCA secretary said that he had contacted local players to take over as the head coach, but they refused the offer for some personal reasons. 

"Furthermore, we also need a player with international experience to take the team to another level," Behera added.

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