Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Captain and Coach

It is bad for cricket when captain decides who should be coach.
The saga that started with BCCI calling for applications for coach’s job and ended with Ravi Shastri’s appointment had many twists. Virat Kohli and some players did not want Anil Kumble as coach. Virender Sehwag was asked to apply. There were attempts for ending the rift between Kohli and Kumble. CAC wanted to keep Kumble as coach with reduced powers. Kumble quit. Ravi Shastri was not one of the original applicants. After Kumble quit deadline for submitting applications was extended. Shastri applied. Interviews were held on 10/7/2017. It was announced there was no hurry to appoint a coach. Captain has to be consulted. Next day there was news that Shastri is appointed coach, Rahul Dravid is batting consultant for overseas tours and Zaheer Khan is bowling coach.
It seemed the matter ended there. Then came another twist. CAC members Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman were disappointed and hurt and pained by media reports that Shastri wanted Bharat Arun as bowling coach and Zaheer Khan was thrust on him. They wrote to Vinod Rai to clear the air. BCCI issued a statement that CAC consulted Shastri and decided to have batting and bowling consultants on overseas tour-to-tour basis.
Ramachandra Guha had warned about submitting to captain’s wishes in selection of coach.
Selectors should first select the team and announce the names of players. Next day they should announce the names of captain and vice captain. Captain should have no say in the selection of other players. Coach should be announced before team selection.
There used to be a time when there was one manager and one coach. Sometimes it was manager-cum-coach as in the case of Hemu Adhikari. Now we have a coach or head coach, a batting coach, a bowling coach and a fielding coach. If the head coach is a batsman there may not be a bowling coach and vice versa. Sanjay Bangar is there as batting coach. Rahul Dravid is coach of India A and U-19 teams. If the two teams have simultaneous tours someone else has to accompany U-19 team. Appointment of Rahul Dravid as batting consultant does not make sense.
Soon we may have Coaches: head, batting, bowling, and fielding.
Below batting coach there will be other coaches, each a specialist in one stroke – drive, hook, late cut, leg glance, pull, sweep, scoop, reverse sweep, reverse scoop, square cut, switch hit and so on.
Bowling coach will have assistant coaches for off spin, leg spin, chinaman, googly, in-swinger, out-swinger, bouncer, yorker and so on.
For fielding there will be assistant coaches for wicketkeeping, slip, gully, forward shortleg, backward shortleg, mid on, mid off, long on, long off, cover, extra cover, silly point and so on.

Besides coaches there will be others like dietician, physiotherapist, psychologist, and physical trainer.

Coach should be for a series. Each match and series should be played as it comes. The purpose should be to win each match. Looking two years ahead for World Cup and preparing team for it while ignoring present match and series is not good. Take care of present and the future will take care of itself. Captain should have no say on who should be players in a tournament after two years.

If BCCI wanted captain to have coach of his choice they should avoided the farce of calling for applications and conducting interviews. BCCI, CAC and CoA have not conducted themselves well. It is said that Sachin Tendulkar wanted Ravi Shastri as coach; Sourav Ganguly wanted Virender Sehwag as coach. Once Sourav Ganguly announced there was no hurry to appoint a coach, CoA should not have interfered. CoA should have acted when CEO Rahul Johri extended deadline to submit applications. It should have said the extension is cancelled and previous deadline stands.
Much was expected of CoA, especially chairman Vinod Rai. He has disappointed. He was a mute spectator of violation of Supreme Court order. Ramachandra Guha quit CoA. R. M. Lodha was critical of Vinod Rai.
Something good came out of Ramachandra Guha’s letter. Conflict of interest issue is addressed and there are two year contracts. That avoids clash between Indian team and IPL team.
P.S. There are reports that Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan have not got contracts as consultants from BCCI. Ravi Shastri is not against Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan as consultants but he wants his own support staff. He wants Sanjay Bangar as batting coach, Bharat Arun as bowling coach, and R. Sudhir as fielding coach. Sanjay Bangar and R. Sudhir are there in support staff. Bharat Arun has to be added. There is talk that CAC was asked to choose coach. It went beyond its brief to select consultants.

Updated: July 15, 2017 — 7:42 am

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