The recent ‘Make in India’ campaign of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to be changing the mindset of our country’s cricket administrators. In the recent weeks, all the attention of our cricket lovers is riveted at who would be the ‘Next Indian Cricket Team Coach?’ I thought of analyzing the situation and present an overall analysis of what happened and what should happen.
The response to the advertisement of the BCCI seeking the next man-in-charge for all formats of Indian cricket was very exciting. The openness of selecting a coach by means of inviting applications is highly appreciable. The number of applicants touched 57 wherein most of the names were Indian. After the departure of Duncan Fletcher in 2015, who left a miserable Indian team as his legacy, Ravi Shastri filled the gap as a make shift coach. This by default was an eye opener for the administrators of cricket in India who started to think that an Indian coach could also be a reality. The performance of Shastri and his team in almost all formats of the game lends hope that under the guidance of an Indian coach also we can do well.
Whether it was the success story of Kenya in the 2003 semifinal under Sandip Patil, the achievements of Hanumant Singh with Kenya, the Netherlands and Nairobi were no less.
If we go back to the history of foreign cricket coaches, the first to arrive on Indian soil was John Wright in 2000 --who did a reasonably good job taking India to the World Cup final in 2003. After him, we saw a high headed Greg Chappell with a tenure full of controversies to Gary Kirsten who revitalised Indian cricket with a World Cup victory after 28 long years. Then came Duncan Fletcher who saw India getting worse in almost all formats. The scores were 2-2 for the coaches.
Let’s have a new dimension to the story. Keeping South Africa as a case study, till date, no foreign coach has been invited, yet the Proteas have been a strong cricket force. If we also see the achievement of the Indian coaches on foreign soil recently when S. Sriram was appointed as Australia’s coaching consultant for T20 matches. Next, Sunil Joshi was appointed as Oman’s spin bowling coach and Manoj Prabhakar as Afghans bowling coach for World T20, 2016, these incidents were all eye openers.
Whether it was the success story of Kenya in the 2003 semifinal under Sandip Patil, the achievements of Hanumant Singh with Kenya, the Netherlands and Nairobi were no less. The Indian coaches have proved themselves overseas to make their case strong, for them to be considered to lead their own country’s team if given a fair chance.
Indian cricket has produced legends in every department of the game, be it a batsmen, bowler, fielder or a leader. If it is correct, to my knowledge, the only apprehension to appoint an Indian coach is that they are not very updated or professional when it comes to assessments, evaluation, fitness techniques or research. But, contrary to this, the former Indian players are the highest paid commentators, analysts and presenters in the most coveted place-the media.
I wish all the best to my Indian friends, those who have applied for this job, for their test on the 24th of June. I am sure the appointment of an Indian coach will not only give confidence to our present players but will also give them hope to an exciting career post retirement. I would be very happy if India could be a ‘stud farm’ for cricket coaches to be bought over by all top teams in the world.
‘If cricket is religion in India, let the priest should be an Indian.’
Hemanshu Chaturvedi is a sports guru.