Former Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) administrator Sunil Dev, who served as India team manager during India’s successful T20 World Cup campaign in 2007 in South Africa and as DDCA sports secretary for over two decades, died on Wednesday night. He was 75 and had been unwell for some time.
The DDCA confirmed his death and shut all its activities on Thursday.
Dev, who played one Ranji Trophy game in 1969 as wicketkeeper-batsman, made name as an administrator.
He came into the Delhi association during the Bishan Singh Bedi-led revolt against the then DDCA dispensation headed by Ram Prakash Mehra in 1981-82. The successful revolt saw the former India captain becoming the sports secretary.
However, Dev took over Bedi’s position in about a year and stayed sports secretary for at least three years till 1986 when the late Manmohan Sood took over the position.
Dev remained attached to DDCA as government nominee for a few years before becoming the sports secretary again in 1995 and remaining there till Lodha reforms forced him to step down in 2015.
The position of sports secretary was important as he was more often than not the convenor of the selection committees of various Delhi teams, including age group ones and oversaw emergence of players.
Dev, who was married into the famous old Delhi family of Chunnamal Haveli, was full of anecdotes and stories.
“His first tenure was good. He was active although he had taken Bedi’s space,” said a top DDCA official who has been associated with DDCA for four decades. “The second tenure was a mixed one. There was some good and some bad, as in there was criticism, and questions were raised over selection of teams.”
Having said that, there is no denying that under his tenure as sports secretary from mid-90s till mid-2010s, Delhi picked cricketers who went on to achieve international laurels like Aakash Chopra, Amit Bhandari, Gautam Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma and Virat Kohli, all of who represented India at the senior level.
Delhi won its last Ranji Trophy title in 2007-08 when he was the sports secretary and thereby convenor of selection panel.
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, who was part of the 2007 T20 World Cup-winning India team, recalled Dev as ‘fun-loving’.
“He was a fun-loving person. We had a great time with him as the team manager [in 2007 in South Africa],” Pathan told Patriot on Thursday.
Besides being the manager of the team at the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa, he was also the manager of the Indian team in South Africa in 1996 and England in 2014.