In recent times, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been sharing a video after every Indian cricket team match. This video features the fielding coach, T. Dilip, presenting a gold medal to the best fielder of the match.
This new tradition has sparked a wave of energy among the players, evident in their enthusiasm for taking spectacular catches. It’s all thanks to the efforts of T. Dilip, who has been coaching the Indian team in fielding.
A Self-Made Coach
What’s even more intriguing is that T. Dilip himself never played first-class cricket. Although he once dreamt of becoming a cricketer, his family’s financial situation made it a challenge. To cover his training expenses, he began tutoring children in mathematics. Having earned a degree in computer science, he started coaching young cricketers in state cricket associations. His journey led him to become the assistant fielding coach of the IPL’s Deccan Chargers, where he learned valuable lessons from head fielding coach, Mike Young. Dilip then pursued and completed BCCI’s Level 2 and Level 3 coaching courses.
Transforming Fielding in Indian Cricket
Before joining the Indian cricket team, T. Dilip worked on a yearly contract for the National Cricket Academy (NCA) for 150 days. Since 2012, he has been providing training to various regional and age-group teams, identifying young talents like Shubhman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Tilak Varma. Rahul Dravid, the former NCA director, was highly impressed with Dilip’s work, and there was a push to have him continuously involved in India-A team assignments. This allowed Dilip to develop training modules for senior players.
In 2021, when Rahul Dravid became the head coach of the Indian cricket team, Dilip also assumed the role of the fielding coach. His remarkable journey from a mathematics tutor to a fielding coach was not without its challenges, but it speaks to his dedication and perseverance.
As he continued to excel in his coaching endeavors, he pursued higher levels of coaching certification offered by the BCCI. Completing the Level 2 and Level 3 coaching courses demonstrated his commitment to the field. Subsequently, he had the opportunity to work with R. Sridhar, who was the chief fielding coach of the Indian cricket team before Dilip took on the role.
Dilip’s Impact on Indian Cricket
Before Dilip’s arrival, the Indian cricket team’s fielding performance was average at best in tournaments like the Asia Cup and some earlier tours. Recognizing the need for improvement, he introduced the practice of awarding gold medals to the best fielders after every match. This simple yet effective initiative ignited a newfound enthusiasm among the players for fielding. Not only did the players start taking incredible catches, but they also playfully demanded the coveted fielding medals after a remarkable effort.
Dilip’s work has not been limited to the Indian team; he has also contributed significantly to various regional and age-group teams. His coaching philosophy goes beyond just technical aspects; he emphasizes the importance of communication and bonding within the team. This approach has helped him seamlessly integrate into the team’s environment.
T. Dilip’s journey from a mathematics tutor to the fielding coach of the Indian cricket team is an inspiring story of determination and passion. His unconventional background and self-made coaching career are a testament to the power of pursuing one’s dreams.
Dilip’s impact on Indian cricket, especially in the fielding department, has been remarkable. His introduction of gold medals for exceptional fielding has transformed the team’s enthusiasm and performance. This unique blend of academic and cricketing expertise has created a coach who is leaving a lasting mark on Indian cricket.