Was the selection process of the Indian coach fixed?

Was the selection process of the Indian coach fixed?

By Hemanshu Chaturvedi | 25 June, 2016
Laxman, Kumble, Sourav and Sachin.

I am thankful to the cricket authorities for choosing an Indian (refer to my previous article) as head coach of Team India. It was really exciting to see that out of the 57 qualified contenders, the finalists were Indians. Like any other match, only one person wins- fair or unfair! I would like to congratulate Anil Kumble for being appointed as ‘Head Coach’ of Indian Cricket Team for all formats. The announcement was done alebeit a lot of media glare and curiosity.

Let’s go through the saga of this particular selection. This entire episode has attracted more eyeballs than Abhinav  Bindra named as flagbearer for the Rio Olympics or SainaNehwal clinching the third spot in world badminton rankings - that is cricket in India! The announcement of ‘Jumbo’ invoked the advocate’s devil in me as I attempted to analyze how and why Mr.Kumble was appointed the man-in-charge.

The BCCI seems to run cricket as a private limited organization rather than being responsible as an impartial association. I wonder why the norms were set in the first place as criteria for application for this coveted position. I am sure the committee or some individuals who jotted the qualification must have thought and evaluated the pros and cons, but when we look at the selections, two of the major qualifications were altered/changed/dropped/abolished.

I had my left eye winking as Kumble did not feature in the first list of shortlisted 21 names with the BCCI giving mandate to the selection panel to pick up someone who did met the most crucial conditions. That the norms were diluted/tweaked for just one person, is something which has not gone down too well in the cricketing circles as Kumble does not meet the major conditions which, to me, are the most important.

The selection has raised many eyebrows of a lot of cricket experts and ex-players but in the end, the veto is with the BCCI which is not answerable to RTI or any ministry.

The most interesting aspect of this selection is the appointment for one year which re jacked my memory to a small analysis on the ‘one year theory’ of the BCCI.  To throw more light on this theory, let’s look at the history of the Indian cricket team’s coaches.

I had my left eye winking as Kumble did not feature in the first list of shortlisted 21 names with the BCCI giving mandate to the selection panel to pick up someone who did met the most crucial conditions. That the norms were diluted/tweaked for just one person, is something which has not gone down too well in the cricketing circles as Kumble does not meet the major conditions which, to me, are the most important.

Sandip Patil who was appointed as coach in 1996, lasted only for six months as he was sacked after losing a Test series. Thereafter, Madan Lal took over again for an year from 1996-97.  In 1997, we saw Anshuman Gaekwad  given for a longer period of two years which was followed by Kapil Dev again for an year from 1999-2000. Kapil was removed on protest from Tendulkar.

I draw two inferences from these experiences. The selection committee is a good student of the one year tenure and seeing their past history, they have appointed Kumble only for a year. The other thought is that we are still suffering from the lack of confidence syndrome because all foreign coaches (barring Greg Chappell) were given four-year contracts after a thorough selection process which was adopted in this case too. Why then only a one tenure to this new man-in-charge?

The hard work put in by Shastri for 18 months did turn things around for Indian cricket with two semifinals in two different World Cups, winning their first Test series in Sri Lanka and climbing to the No. 1 position in Test cricket after 22 years. If this achievement was not enough to showcase his credentials then we really have to wait and see if BCCI returns to Shastri by realizing their mistake, or cover up in case this particular appointment is not a turn-around for Team India.

I wish Mr.Kumble all the very best in the dressing room of the Indian cricket team.

Hemanshu Chaturvedi is a sports guru.

 

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