India and its fascination with foreign coaches

24 Jun 2011 by Vishal Chandan in Indian Cricket Team

What do you remember when we talk about the 1980s and 1990s in Indian cricket? Indians being the underdogs cruised to a phenomenal victory over the mighty West Indians to lift the world cup. Emergence of some exceptional cricketers like Amarnath, Kapil Dev, it all happened in 1980s. Gavaskar’s excellent strides against the fast and fierce West Indian bowlers like no-one could ever do! 1990s saw some outstanding cricketers in action, from the likes of Sachin Tendulkar to Rahul Dravid to Anil Kumble to Sourav Ganguly.

John Wright and Gary Kirsten

John Wright and Gary Kirsten

But, these excellent years did have something to regret about in Indian cricket. Match-fixing sagas were the most disappointing ones among them. Playing against your own country even after being in the squad is one of the worst things you could ever do. Why would you ever do that? How could your conscience ever let you do that? How could you ever sell your own country? The thought just amuses me.

Indians were extremely confident about playing in India but when it came to pitches abroad they would falter. Basically India didn’t have proper technique to counter the pitches abroad, especially the ones outside the subcontinent.

But life isn’t always about what you need, it’s sometimes about what happens. And as said, everything happens for a reason.  Whatever happened was for a reason, and the reason was pretty awesome. This gave India the need to get in some-one who could actually coach them in a way to play against the teams in their own den.

Its been a decade since the resurgence in Indian cricket started. With John Wright’s inclusion to the team, it was time to adopt dome international standards and techniques. His being a unique style of coaching, it didn’t go down well with the Indian players in the beginning. But his ability to adapt and understand the Indian political situations in cricket well and creating strategies considering the Indian cricketer’s mindsets help made the perfect start for an excellent decade. His partnership with Saurav Ganguly as a captain was outstanding and they together paved the way for many more youngsters.

Their partnership was the reason to why we have such exceptional and mature cricketers like VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virendra Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and many more in our arsenal. He set a base, a foundation for Indian cricket. Some exceptional wins, he led India to the final of the World cup. And the credit has to be given to him. But statistics doesn’t matter as much as they way he has taught Indians how to play cricket in the right manner. Some motivational tips, the team huddle and there you go play cricket in the right way, in the right spirit on the ground. That’s what he taught them the best, apart from coaching them how to play cricket.

But his era was cut short due to loss of form of Saurav Ganguly and other cricketers, including Sachin Tendulkar. Though his tenure ended abruptly, but a job well done! But what matters is that the way he still advises the young boys and feels proud about the Indian cricket.

But what came next, was completely out of imagination. Greg Chappel’s spell with Indian cricket was one of the most horrendous experiences ever to be believed.  A supremely dominating, dictating and tyrannizing coaches I’ve ever seen. I agree these are harsh words, but all he’s done is worse to the Indian cricket.

Removing Ganguly from the team, marking an almost end to his exceptional career he never could have done worse. Ego problems always create bigger problems. I agree Ganguly had to be shown the right way, but not with the harshest solution. It still shows how much hatred he inflicted in the hearts of Indian cricketers, as no-one still has no words for him and as his name comes, they just say ‘Pass on please’.

Though an exceptional cricketer, his tactics never went down well with the Indians, as the way his tactics didn’t go well with the world in his playing days when he was captaining Australia. Asking his brother, Trevor to bowl the ball as if they were playing in a school playground, was one of the most disgraceful moments in the world of cricket. Even his brother, Ian Chappel doesn’t acknowledge it.

As his term was over, Gary Kirsten took his place. One of the most media-shy coaches, he never went in front of the media except when he left. He understood every player’s mentality and the way to deal with them. A cricketing brain, he was exceptional with whatever he did.

With M.S.Dhoni he had forged a partnership which was worth to watch. Winning the World Cup after 28 years, they together with the team got smiles on the millions of Indians all around the world. He was like John Wright in many ways. But where Wright laid the foundation, Kirsten was the man to lead the team forward.

He was a coach, a friend, a supporter everything you needed at that point of time. His coaching style was different and how! After winning the cup, he was carried on the shoulders by the young guns like the way he carried the team during his tenure. Creating a place in the heart of these millions of people is not easy, and he’s done the impossible. He has got himself the respect which he deserves. Cannot be forgotten that soon.

With him leaving the post, his post has been taken over by Duncan Fletcher. Looks like a media-shy person like Gary Kirsten, hopefully he’ll continue from where Gary Kirsten left and very well, indeed.



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