Cricket coach Robin Singh has moved from Trinidad to India and just about everywhere else. And what a journey this has been for the well-known cricketer-now-coach who was born in Princes Town, and who has been travelling since departing these shore many years ago. After leaving Trinidad, he ended up staying in India and making a name for himself in the cricketing world, representing that country at the highest level both as a player and coach.
That he represented and captained Trinidad and Tobago at the under-19 level and played a couple of games for the senior T&T team before heading off to India is the stuff that dreams are made of.
In his playing heyday, he was an all-rounder, a left-handed batsman, right-handed bowler, and exciting fieldsman. Following his T&T playing days, he went on to represent India in 136 One Day International matches scoring over 2,000 runs with one century and nine half-centuries, captured 69 wickets with a best of five for 22 and held 33 catches. His international career spanned from 1989 to 2001 following which he retired and then became a coach.
Wisden described him as an athletic, tenacious and committed all-rounder. Readers can catch a glimpse of him in his heyday in action at www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=nrUTHqQvi74
As the highly regarded internationally-acclaimed coach of the winning Mumbai Indians in the hugely popular IPL (Indian Premier League) he has also been one of the premier coaches of the Barbados Tridents franchise in the CPL. T&T’s cricketing superstar Kieron Pollard has been a member of both the Mumbai and Barbados squads which Singh coaches.
The 55-year-old globetrotting coach will don the colours of the St Kitts Patriots in the 2019 CPL edition.
Singh began his coaching career almost immediately after his playing days. He was asked by then president of the BCCI Jagmohan Dalmiya to coach India’s A team and under-19 teams.
Tours to Pakistan, England, Australia and a World Cup unearthed a wealth of Indian talent who went on to become big names in Indian cricket. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Irfan Pathan, Ambati Rayudu, Robin Uthappa, Parthiv Patel, and Ravindra Jadeja have all donned India’s senior colours under his tutelage.
Hong Kong cricket approached him to coach their national team in 2004 and under his tenure qualified to play in the Asia Cup and gained ODI status. He was awarded for Coaching Excellence by Hong Kong.
After the Indian National Team suffered an unceremonious exit in the 2007 World Cup he was announced as the fielding coach. Without a head coach and just Singh, a manager and bowling coach, a young Indian team went on to win the first-ever T20 World Cup in 2007.
In 2008, world cricket saw the introduction of T20 leagues with the arrival of the IPL in India. It has grown in stature every year with almost every cricket playing nation having their own leagues already or planning to. This is the format in which Singh has become synonymous and has gained immense recognition and considered among the top few international coaches.
Today the champion team with the most titles (four) in the IPL is the Mumbai Indians. He has been with them since 2010 and it has been the turning point of the side’s history. They have also won two Global league championships called the Champions Trophy.
Simultaneously, he was appointed coach in other country leagues namely Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies…the first for an Indian coach. His team UVA won the only year Sri Lanka held a T20 League. He has coached Barbados Tridents since the inception of The CPL. They have won once and made the semis twice. Here his multi-cultural personality and background helped him immensely. Having grown up in Trinidad and played for ten years during the summers in the UK, he is very comfortable with players of various nationalities.
During the years 2012 -2014 he was approached by the USA Cricket Association to coach their Under 19s in preparation for their World Cup campaigns. He went on to coach both their Senior Men’s and Women’s teams.
A ten-over format in World cricket was introduced in 2017 for the very first time in the UAE. Each year it has attracted 100 top cricketers from all over the world for this ever increasingly popular ‘cricket carnival’ called T10 cricket. In the introductory year 2017, Singh was roped in by the franchise, Kerela Kings.
As with all other franchises where he is the coach he analyses players, playing conditions, opponents, then strategises and selects the best team in a live telecast player auction. Kerela Kings won the inaugural trophy. Robin switched to a different franchise for the following year, Northern Warriors, and guided them to the title victory. Back-to-back titles in the only T10 tournament ever held, albeit with different teams!
He has recently opened his own Cricket Academy in Dubai…the aim of the academy is to hone the skills of young aspirants and provide the guidance and facilities to cricketers during their off-season or pre-tournament preparations.
Look out for more of Robin Singh on the cricketing front as he promises much more in the years ahead.
Nasser Khan is an avid cricket fan and writer whose book, History of West Indies Cricket Through Calypsoes, is now lodged in the library of cricket's mecca Lord's in England. (mcc.adlibhosting.com/Details/fullCatalogue/22211