Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Can Kirsten do wonders?

The question that comes uppermost in mind is what could be the rationale of choosing a batsman as a coach for the current team that boasts of some titans in the game. The teacher or a guide should be superior in talent to all the players as otherwise he cannot command the respect of the team by his prowess. Kirsten’s profile is at best like some of our senior players and certainly not a cut above them. What is the kind of learning that players like Sachin, Saurav, Dravid or Lakshman or even Yuvraj or Dhoni can expect from him despite about 7000 runs scored in both forms of the game? May be the younger players can learn a trick or two. But is it an adequate reason to run after foreign coaches who appear and talk in condescending manner?
We needed badly a coach to prepare the team before it embarks on possibly the most challenging tour to Australia. Playing in their grounds is different from our tailored pitches. They are waiting to give a drubbing and have already launched verbal taunts to gain a psychological edge. The new coach may be available as per reports only during the middle of tour. Till then a manager of sorts would be holding the fort. What kind of contribution can one expect from such persons on sinecure?
True though there are many willing but the names of desi coaches that did the rounds are not inspiring though some of them were good players in their days.. This must have been the reason for the committee to choose Kirsten. A good player does not necessarily make a good coach. It calls for different skills. The selectors had to make do with what was available. Not many are willing after the Chappell tenure and the refusal of another one to join after selection. The board had also snubbed one good coach after meeting him by remaining silent. Perhaps he knew the Australians better than the others.
The ideal candidate should have led a national team as captain in international matches for fairly long period and should have acquired the skill in all departments of the game like studying the nature pitch, whether to bat or field, what order the batting should be, whom to bowl and when, how to set field placments, the strength and weakness of opponents in general and individually in particular and above all the ability to carry the players with him. It is not that he will interfere with captain’s prerogative but would be giving useful inputs in the team meetings. He should be one who can command the respect of all as a man by his knowledge of the game and deportment. The participation in several test or ODI matches as a player alone will not guarantee this skill. It looks every player after his active days is interested in extending his career either as a commentator, coach or columnist. Not all can fit the bill or shine. It is hoped that under Gary Kirsten the team would scale new heights. For this to happen the players, the board, the past players and the sports writers should give him a long rope and not undermine his authority in any manner immediately after one series.
One gets the impression there is a lot of adhocism in all things that the board does be it in the selection of coach, the team or the selectors. It includes all the other areas of the game. There is a hint of intolerance to different view points with the officials seemingly taking the attitude of “I am talking, let no dog bark.”

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