For some time now, there has been a raging debate over the credentials of India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun. There is a growing demand for .having a bowling coach who has played the game at the highest level and has more experience than the current incumbent.
The Sunday Guardian spoke to a host of former cricketers and board officials all of whom concurred on one view—that Bharat Arun did not have the ‘right’ credentials to continue as the bowling coach.
“I have nothing against Bharat personally. He is a nice person. My problem with him stems from the fact that as a bowler he lacks the kind of experience to mentor fast bowlers. “Bharat has played a mere two Tests for the country. He may have played enough at the first class level, but then when you are coach of Team India, you require much more experience,” said a former India player.
Another cricketer said that a look at the bowling coaches of other teams convey a message. “You have someone like Vaas who is Lanka’s bowling coach, McDermott who is spearheading Australia and that is when you realize Bharat Arun is f a misfit. Come on, one can’t help but comparing the coaches of various teams,” the former player added.
A former selector said that Venkatesh Prasad had the right credentials for the post. “He (Prasad) has played for India umpteen times. Apart from this, he has also got an A certificate in coaching from Australia. So his credentials both as a bowler and coach are very much there. I think one has to pose a question to the BCCI as to why he is not the bowling coach of Team India,” he said.
When asked why was there a need to change Bharat Arun, despite a decent showing by Ishant in the Sri Lanka series, a former selector said that it was nevertheless important to have a bowling coach with good credentials. “I don’t see how a good show by a fast bowler (like Ishant in Lanka) can alter the situation. Please don’t tell me that it was due to Arun that Ishant bowled so well in Lanka,” said the former selector.
There are some who feel that Bharat Arun’s presence in the team is more to do with his right equation with the powers that may be. “Look, he (Bharat) has had a terrific equation with Ravi Shastri and a couple of other key members of the current Indian team.
“This sort of equation is very important since we all know that Ravi Shastri is in total control. So Bharat’s position in the team is quite good now,” he added.
But then are some who defend Bharat Arun. “Let’s not forget that he along with TA Shekhar were at the MRF Pace Academy in Chennai under the Australian great Dennis Lillee.
“I am sure that having worked closely with Denis he would have acquired some of the nuances of coaching. I feel that Bharat even though he may not have played many Tests for India is good enough to be the bowling coach,” said a former Test player.