Friday, March 14, 2014

Coaches can win matches

It is such an eye pleasing sight to see Allan Donald, Gary Kirsten and Jonty Rhodes sits with the South African cricket team in the capacity of national coaches or for that matter Darren Lehman, Geoff Marsh sits with the Aussie cricket team imparting them useful tips and motivating them to the hilt or plotting the downfall of the opponents. The English team is not far behind in making use of Graham Gooch and Ashley Giles cricketing acumen. The similarity in all these above examples is, a common thread that links them, and that thread is, their respective cricketing greats slogging and working with their national teams. These nations don’t see a need in hiring a foreign coach for their cricket team, and why should they when they have these skills in abundance in their own backyard. They take pride in having their own set of people do these jobs, and it is perfectly fine. But this might not be the case with Indian cricketing board, the omnipotent, omnipresent BCCI, the most powerful and rich cricketing board, busy making money. I always think of BCCI as a filthy rich father who does not have time for his kids and who can go to any length to make money even at their expense.

Now the bone of contention here is should Indian national team look for an Indian coach or look far off like we have been doing for many years. The incumbent coach Mr. Duncan Fletcher is proving to be a liability and the team is facing one defeat after other at many tournaments. But Mr. Fletcher is unperturbed and after every debacle simply moves to his home country Zimbabwe, to appear only before the next tournament. Mind you he is paid handsomely by the BCCI for his services. But what’s the point when he is not part of the scheme of things here and is away when required. To add to his woes, his own cricketing stats are nothing to be talked about or even mention it, but even by the theory of, not every great player is a great coach and vice versa, his coaching performance is below par and the recent stats speak volumes. What is disheartening is the lack of accountability on his part and not doing enough to either dismiss these perceptions or show results on the cricketing field. Many former Indian greats have been talking about his absence from the local matches where the talent is spotted and nurtured for the future. He is simply missing from the scene when his presence does matter. Cricketing great Sunil Gavaskar has come heavily on him and asked for his immediate removal and replacing him with our very own Rahul Dravid, who has been a world class player having played at the top level for 17-18 long years. He would be an ideal coach for the Indian cricket team; for he commands the respect from the current players, they regard him very highly, has the cricketing acumen and is very approachable. All these qualities make him the most ideal candidate to coach the Indian national cricket team.

To me it makes perfect sense. The grass can be greener on this side as well and you don’t have to look on the other side to experience it. Why should we not employ the services of these stalwarts is one question that comes to my mind repeatedly, and I am sure you all cricket loving Indians would echo the same sentiment as mine. Besides their world class skills, they understand the sensibilities, the culture of this country which can help understand individual problems and address them holistically. Being local they will be available all the time and this would give immense motivation and relief to the players who are looking for tips or ideas from these masters. We have had fast bowling greats like Kapil dev, Roger Binny, J Srinath and others, are we really making use of their talent to nurture the young raw talent that we have? We have had a great tradition of some wily Tweakers like Bedi, Prasanna, Venkatraghavan, Kumble, are we using their skills to develop world class spinners? If not, why? We can have their services if the BCCI mandarins lower themselves from the high pedestal they have placed themselves onto, and think of the betterment of Indian cricket rather than taking pride in propagating themselves as the cricket’s most powerful and rich body. These Indian stalwarts can be great coaches I think, and I am not denying that some of them did coach the Indian team in the past, but it has dried down, and we have been relying heavily on foreign coaches since then.

If the wise men ruling the BCCI agree to appoint an Indian coach these Indian stalwarts should not shy away from taking responsibility and stand up and get counted. They should grab this opportunity and show the results and make the Indian cricket team a world class unit. Just giving advice from the commentary boxes won’t help. I hope better sense prevails and soon we would see former Indian cricketers as the batting, bowling or fielding coach for the men in blue. If I had the liberty to select the coaches I would have selected a mix of Rahul Dravid, Kapil dev, Saurav Ganguly, Laxman, Sunil Gavaskar, Anil Kumble, J Srinath and of course the master of all Sachin Tendulkar (though let him have a break from cricket at-least for a few years), handling the reins of the Indian cricket. These greats as coaches with the team would be picture perfect. To this combination my friends would say “SAVAGE” or too good.

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