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.


GST came into effect on 1/7/2017. It is not One Nation One Tax. It has taken over or done away with 17 taxes including Amusement and Entertainment Tax (except levied by local bodies), Excise, Additional Excises, Octroi and Service Tax. Other taxes continue. GST has different tax rates for different goods and services and with cess added the tax rates may be forty even though the government claims there are four tax rates – 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. For Coca Cola the tax is 28% + 12% cess making it 40% tax.
GST has been good for chartered accountants and tally programmers. Their demand and income has gone up. Octroi is abolished. It is good for traders and transporters. In some restaurants customers received bills with Central GST and State GST.
There is confusion about rates. Some have raised questions about rates. Cashew nuts are charged 5%. Almonds are charges 12%. Almond merchants say almonds are nuts so rate for cashew nuts and almonds should be same. By that they mean 5%. Such disputes are good for lawyers.
Some traders have not used computers. They are unable to comprehend GST. They will need services of professionals.
Some say GST has brought more work. Previously, it was a Quarterly Return. Now it is three Monthly Returns and an Annual Return.
Textile was free from tax. Now it is 5% GST on cotton and 18% GST on man-made fibre. In Surat textile traders are on strike. In Maharashtra, especially in Bhiwandi, many power looms have shut down.
Many women are opposed to 12% GST on sanitary napkins. Government has justified the tax on the ground that previously there was excise and VAT on sanitary napkins which is equal to 12% GST and women did not know about it.
Car companies decreased the prices of cars after GST came into effect. Maharashtra Government increased Motor Vehicle Tax.
Banks had Service Tax rate of 15%. GST is 18%.
Some shopkeepers have problems because their buyers do not accept their receipts. They want receipts in a different format.
Confusion and uncertainty should be over within three months.

Dalit versus Dalit

It is Dalit versus Dalit contest for the office of the President of India.
On 19/6/2017 BJP announced Ram Nath Kovind as its presidential candidate. On 22/6/2017 Congress announced Meira Kumar as its presidential candidate.
Ram Nath Kovind is a Dalit in Uttar Pradesh and an OBC in Gujarat. His status in other states is not known. He is presented as Dalit. When his name was announced the question was “Who is Ram Nath Kovind?” Most people had not heard of him.
Nitish Kumar is a slippery customer. He is an opportunist, an unprincipled and unscrupulous politician. He wanted opposition parties to put up a joint candidate. He met Sonia Gandhi on 20/4/2017. Sonia Gandhi called a meeting of opposition leaders on 26/5/2017. Nitish Kumar did not attend that. Sharad Yadav represented. Next day Nitish Kumar met Narendra Modi at a lunch hosted in honour of visiting Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth. Something happened between 20/4/2017 and 26/5/2017. May be Nitish Kumar suggested Kovind’s name and Modi agreed. On 21/6/2017 Nitish Kumar called a JD (U) meeting and it was decided to support Ram Nath Kovind. It was a setback for Congress and allies.
Congress and allies did not declare their candidate. They said they were in favour consensus and it is for the government to approach them. If the BJP candidate is suitable they will not oppose. A BJP committee met opposition leaders but did not mention any name.
Once Kovind’s name was announced Mayawati said it was difficult for her to oppose him unless a Dalit candidate opposes him. Ram Vilas Paswan said anyone who opposed Kovind is anti-Dalit. Gopalkrishna Gandhi was out as a candidate. The choice was for a Dalit. Four names were in circulation. Bhalchandra Mungekar, Meira Kumar, Prakash Ambedkar and Sushil Kumar Shinde were discussed. She is a retired IFS officer, former minister, and was Lok Sabha Speaker. As Speaker, she is well-known for saying “Please sit down. Please sit down. Baith jayiye. Baith jayiye.” She is from Bihar and daughter of Jagjivan Ram. Lalu Prasad Yadav appealed to Nitish Kumar to reconsider his decision to vote for Ram Nath Kovind and said it will be a historic blunder. Mamata Banerjee who was opposed to Meira Kumar agreed to support her.
Shiv Sena was in favour of Mohan Bhagwat and M. S. Swaminathan. On 19/6/2017 Uddhav Thackeray lashed out against choice of Ram Nath Kovind. Next day Shiv Sena decided to support Ram Nath Kovind. In 2007 and 2012 Shiv Sena had not supported BJP’s candidates. It supported Congress candidates. Congress was in power at the time. Now BJP is in power. Not supporting BJP candidate can be costly.
It is good there is a contest for the office of President. It would have been better if the contest had more than two candidates. Most parties do not have 100 electors as members and not possible for them to field a candidate.
BJP has all NDA allies on its side. AIADMK, BJD, JD (U), TRS and YSR Congress are on BJP’s side. BSP, DMK, Left Front, NC, NCP, RJD, RLD, SP and TMC support Congress. Vote strength of Ram Nath Kovind is around 62.8% and of Meira Kumar is around 34.6%.
On 23/6/2017 Ram Nath Kovind filed his nomination papers. Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Ram Vilas Paswan, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Vijay Goel, Manohar Lal Khattar, Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Raman Singh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and Yogi Adityanath, E. K. Palaniswami, K. Chandrasekhara Rao, and some others were present.

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