Sanjay Bangar’s first stint with the Punjab franchise ended in 2016. © BCCI/IPL
One of the surprise recent developments in the IPL was the appointment of Sanjay Bangar as Punjab Kings’ head of cricket development. Bangar, a former Indian cricketer with extensive coaching experience, had a tumultuous relationship with the franchise’s promoters during his previous stint. However, the management has emphasised that the former India batting coach is being welcomed by all the owners.
“Basically, when Bangalore released him, we were very happy. So it’s a homecoming of sorts in that sense. And we’re so happy that he’s come back and he’ll be working with Trevor [Bayliss, the head coach] and everyone else. And his return is very much appreciated and welcomed,” Ness Wadia, the co-owner of Punjab Kings, told Cricbuzz.
Bangar had issues with one of the owners, Priety Zinta, and the differences between them were widely reported. But Wadia insisted that to recall Bangar was a unanimous decision by all the promoters of the franchise. “We took the opportunity to hire him again, and the decision was unanimous amongst all the promoters. We all wanted Sanjay back because he was with us earlier when he started his career and now he’s coached for India. He had also been with RCB,” Wadia said
The franchise removed Bangar after the team finished last in the 2016 season but Wadia said it was not an acrimonious parting. “There was no unceremonious parting in the first stint. I think that’s not correct. And Sanjay will be with us hopefully for a while,” he said hoping his second stint will be longer than the first. “I’m very happy that he’s going to bring, you know, all his experience with Trevor [Bayliss], with Shikhar (Dhawan, the captain] and with the whole team and with Satish [Menon, the CEO]. And I think you’ll see a lot of sort of structure being brought in and Punjab Kings will be a force to reckon with in the years to come.”
Punjab Kings’ best season was under Bangar in 2014 when they reached the final before losing to Kolkata Knight Riders. Since then they have not made the play-offs of the IPL, often finishing in the bottom half. “We had the best season under him. I am sure, he along with Trevor and Shikhar will take us to greater heights, which we truly deserve because we have a great team,” Wadia hoped.