Pakistan fast-bowling legend Waqar Younis and retired Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan were on Monday appointed as bowling consultants for a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) coaching programme beginning on March 15.
Brainchild of former India skipper Sourav Ganguly, the iconic bowling duo, who have signed a three-year contract, will spend at least 30 days with a pool of Bengal youngsters for a development programme aimed at creating supply line for the senior team. Their contract amount is believed to be the tune of Rs 60 lakh each per season.
"It will be a simple cricket coaching with Waqar and Murali and no rocket science," Ganguly told reporters after the plan was ratified at CAB's working committee meeting.
In the first phase of the programme, Younis and Muralitharan will coach 200 players to be hand-picked from CAB affiliated clubs and the trainees will also include senior Bengal players if available.
"They will be picked from a screening camp. The first phase from March 15 will consist of 200 players," Ganguly, who is also the coaching committee chairman of the CAB, added.
94 clubs will nominate one pacer and one spinner, making it a total of 188 while the remaining 12 will be U-19 players from second division clubs.
"It's difficult but you have to give fair chance to everybody. It will be for 30-40 days under Waqar and Murali but local coaches will take the camp throughout the year," he said.
There have been foreigners as coaches in the Ranji Trophy teams, including Intikhab Alam for Punjab and more recently Michael Bevan for Odisha but rarely has any state development programme in India seen such high profile appointments.
Younis and Muralitharan will be assisted by Ranadeb Bose as assistant coach in the pace department, while the CAB is yet to finalise the assistant in the spin department.
"Everything has been passed. There's a confusion about who will be (assistant) spin coach, let's see," Ganguly added.
Ganguly, who will be chief consultant of the batting pool, said, "The batting clinic will be held separately, first let this take place. I will be there, so we can do it at an appropriate time."
Image: Muttiah Muralitharan (left), Waqar Younis