First-ever foreign coach in Indian domestic cricket July 10, 2004

Intikhab Alam appointed as coach of Punjab

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Intikhab Alam: moves across the border to coach Punjab © Getty Images

In an unprecedented move in Indian domestic cricket, the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) has appointed Intikhab Alam, the former Pakistan captain and coach, as coach-cum-manager of its Ranji Trophy team for the coming season. Intikhab, 62, will replace Bhupinder Singh senior, the former Indian medium-pacer, who was in charge of the side for more than six years.

Intikhab will become the first foreigner to coach any Indian domestic team. He had a very successful time coaching Pakistan, with the World Cup victory in 1992 the glittering highlight.

Intikhab has been appointed for a one-year term, beginning in September. The PCA confirmed that they have put in a request to the Indian board about the appointment. The Indian Express reported that Intikhab was extremely pleased about the appointment, and quoted him as saying: "IS Bindra [the PCA president] approached me during the India-Pakistan series. I thought about it for three weeks before realising this was a challenge I couldn't pass up."

Intikhab felt that the Indian domestic structure was better than its Pakistan counterpart, as "You don't have institutions or banks involved."

Jagmohan Dalmiya, the BCCI president, did not foresee any problems with this appointment. "We have no problem with it. In fact, Punjab cricketers would benefit from Alam's experience since he speaks Punjabi so well and was also born in Indian Punjab."

And Intikhab also didn't think there would be any problems communicating with the players, and added, "I don't think there will be any cultural or language problems because I was born in Hoshiarpur, I speak the language."