Rajkumar Sharma is a former Indian cricket player-turned-coach. He played for the Delhi cricket team between 1986 and 1991. He was Virat Kohli’s first coach. The Indian Express
Rajkumar Sharma was born on Friday, 18 June 1965 (age 58 years, as of 2023) in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. His zodiac sign is Gemini. Sharma completed his schooling at St. Mary’s Academy, Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. He pursued a bachelor’s degree in Political Science (Hons) at the Pannalal Girdharlal Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College (PGDAV), Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi. He was fondly called Raju by his friends and family.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Weight (approx.): 75 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His parents’ names were not known. He has two brothers, Sunil Sharma, and N. K. Sharma.
Wife & Children
His wife’s name is not known. He has two children, a son named Aviral Sharma, and a daughter named Suhani Sharma. Suhani was an Architect.
Rajkumar Sharma represented the Delhi Under-22 and the Delhi cricket teams at the domestic level. On 13 December 1986, he made his debut for Delhi against the Services cricket team in the 1986-1987 season of the Ranji Trophy. He enjoyed a stellar campaign in his debut season and took seven wickets at an average of 38.00 between 13 December 1986 and 21 February 1987. Sharma reached the final of the Ranji Trophy in his debut season with the Delhi team; however, the Hyderabad team beat Delhi in the final of the 1986-1987 season of the Ranji Trophy and clinched the title. On 28 February 1987, the cricketer was named to the playing eleven against the Pakistanis team during the Pakistan tour of India. Sharma scored six runs and took one wicket from 13 overs in the first innings; he took two wickets from 30 overs in the second innings. In March 1989, Rajkumar was named to the Delhi team for the 1988-1989 season of the Wills One-Day Trophy; he played three List-A matches for the Delhi cricket team between 12 March 1989 and 18 March 1989 in the competition.
On 12 March 1989, the cricketer took two wickets at an economy of 3.30 against Tamil Nadu in the quarter-final match. On 18 March 1989, he bowled ten overs at an economy of 3.80 against the Railways cricket team in the final of the Wills One-Day Trophy. Delhi won the match by eight wickets and lifted the cup; this was his final appearance in the List-A matches. In 1988, Sharma was part of the Delhi team for the 1988-1989 season of the Ranji Trophy. He scored seven runs against the Bengal team in the final of the Ranji Trophy on 22 March 1989 and Delhi defeated the Bengal team by an innings and 210 runs; this was the first time he won the Ranji Trophy. Rajkumar was part of the Delhi team, which participated in the 1990-1991 season of the Ranji Trophy; this was his final season with the Delhi team. On 12 January 1991, he was named to the playing eleven for the Ranji Trophy match against Punjab, and in the first innings, he scored 15 runs and took one wicket; this was his highest score in the competition. Sharma bowled seven overs but did not bat in the second innings; this was his final appearance in first-class cricket and the Ranji trophy. The cricketer was part of the Delhi cricket team between 15 December 1986 and 12 January 1991 and played eight first-class matches in the Ranji Trophy.
West Delhi Cricket Academy (WDCA)
After announcing his retirement from professional cricket, in 1998, he started a cricket academy, West Delhi Cricket Academy (WDCA), in Paschim Vihar, Delhi. On 30 May 1998, Virat Kohli joined his academy; Virat was one of the first students at the WDCA. Kohli joined the academy when he was about ten years old. Following Kohli’s meteoric rise in cricket, the WDCA became popular, and later Rajkumar opened three more branches in various parts of Delhi.
In 2022, WDCA graduates Pulkit Narang and Deepak Dhapola were selected to play for the Duleep Trophy. Sharma coached the Indian cricketer Anuj Rawat at WDCA; Anuj was signed by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for the 2023 season of the IPL. Some reports suggested that the academy produced more than 50 state team players.
Selector and Coach
He served as a junior coach and selector under the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) for almost 18 years between 2001 and 2019; he also worked with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). In 2017, Sharma was appointed as the coach of the Delhi junior cricket team, and they won the CK Nayudu Under-23 Trophy in his first season as the coach. During his stint as the coach, players like Hiten Dalal were promoted to the senior squad. He served as a junior coach and selector under the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) for almost 18 years between 2001 and 2019. Later, when he was not given any positions under the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA), he took up the role as the head coach of the Malta national team for an ICC qualifying tournament held in Spain in March 2019.
The three-nation divisional tournament of the ICC was between Malta, Spain, and Estonia. The matches were held between 29 March 2019 and 31 March 2019; in the opening match of the Spain triangular T20I series, Malta defeated Estonia by 13 runs. In 2019, Sharma was appointed the Delhi Ranji team’s bowling coach ahead of the 2019-2020 season. Following his impressive stint, he was named head coach of the Delhi Ranji team on 20 December 2020 for the 2020-2021 season. Later, he was retained as the head coach of the team ahead of the 2021-2022 season; however, he was fired as head coach ahead of the 2022-2023 season following the team’s poor performance in the domestic campaign. Later, he was named the bowling coach of the Delhi team.
- 29 August 2016: Dronacharya Award for Outstanding Coaches in Sports and Games
On 5 September 2014, Virat Kohli gifted him a Skoda Rapid car as a Teacher’s Day gift.
- While speaking about his relationship with Rajkumar, in an interview, Virat Kohli labelled his coach as his mentor and a guiding influence.
- On 9 November 2022, he was honoured by the Indian Air Force with a memento; representing the Air Force, Wing Commander Prasad handed over the memento.
- Some reports suggested that Sharma shared a strong relationship with the former Indian skipper, Virat Kohli. While speaking about Virat’s childhood, in an interview, Sharma pointed out that he observed Kohli was distinct from others from the early days of training and said that Virat was an active, hyper, and naughty guy when he joined the academy. Rajkumar added that the cricketer possessed tremendous self-belief and discipline; he labelled the cricketer as an earnest student and said that he was like a son to him.
- Pranab Mukherjee presented him with the Dronacharya Award during the Sports and Adventure Awards 2016 at the Rastrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
- Rajkumar and his wife were invited to the wedding ceremony of Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma in December 2017.
- Following his retirement from professional cricket, he worked in the banking sector. Some reports suggested that while he worked as a manager at the Bank of Baroda in New Delhi, Delhi, he distributed around 500 PPE ( (Personal Protection Equipment)) kits to policemen and traffic police officers stationed at Rajouri Garden, Connaught Place, and Darya Ganj police stations in 2020 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Later Rajkumar worked as a cricket analyst at India TV.
- In 2021, after the BCCI Virat stripped Virat Kohli from the captaincy of India, some reports suggested that Sharma lambasted the BCCI decision and the lack of transparency; he condemned the approach, which was opted for switching the national team captain.
- The former cricketer defended his ward’s choice to step down as the skipper of the Royal Challengers Bangalore in September 2021. While speaking about Kohli’s decision, in an interview, he said it was part of Virat’s plan to manage the workload to focus on Test and ODI cricket.
- Virat went through a rough patch of form in early 2022. In an interview, his coach, Rajkumar Sharma, suggested the Indian cricketer work on the basics and added that Kohli could benefit by training at the WDCA academy as he did many times.
- Rajkumar attended the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Delhi Capitals (DC) match on 6 May 2023. He rang the bell to kickstart the match; a video of Virat seeking blessings from his childhood coach ahead of the clash went viral on social media.
A wholesome meet & greet 🤗@imVkohli catches up with his childhood coach 👌🏻👌🏻#TATAIPL | #DCvRCB | @RCBTweets pic.twitter.com/YHifXeN6PE
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 6, 2023
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