Srirupa's coup! Was it worthwhile?

Written by: Mamatha Maben
Published: Thursday, December 21, 2000, 18:30 [IST]
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Bangalore: When one sits back to analyse India's below par performance at the 2000 women's World Cup, the thought of how much of a role Srirupa's coup might have had sits uppermost in one's mind.

Srirupa Bose entered the scene in the guise of an assistant whose expertise was supposed to have lent the Indian think-tank added sharpness. However, true to her nature, she soon found herself trampling her way to the top. This move one feels disturbed the mind-set of the contingent (a substantial chunk, if not the entire).

From there on, one would assume that there would have been a progressive rift in the perception of things. With Sudha Shah, who had built up a steady rapport with the team, virtually relegated to being a scum bag, the rapport between the management and the players may not have been at its optimum best - I stress rapport, as respect out of fear is a far cry from rapport born out of respect.

Srirupa's track record for being an effective coach is in the red, three out of three World Cups have turned out to be a failure. With the lone exception of a Centenary Cup win, which one, now, is forced to accredit it to Purnima Rau's captaincy skills rather than Srirupa's behind the door heroics, Srirupa has nothing much to talk about.

Word has it that Mithali Raj, India's most effective bat, was keen to play in the semi-finals - a keenness very much seconded by her team mates, but madam Bose would have none of it. A move, which one feels was not taken in the best interest of the team.

The fact that Sudha never used to be aware of the playing eleven until before the start of the matches and things like the management wanting to make Purnima Rau sit out of the semi-final suggests that all was not well with the Indian contingent.

The Indian team had seven matches at their disposal to work out on their combinations - be it batting or bowling and their strategies. However, one saw India conducting experiments of major proportions even on the day of a semi-final, which amply reflects the fact that things had not yet been worked out. They were just taking their chances.

On tracks that had consistent bounce they chose to pack their side with spinners while it was witnessed that quality teams never found it a bother to tackle spinners given the bounce of the tracks. On the contrary, it was the pacers that caused a little bit uneasiness.

All these foolhardiness exhibited on behalf of the commander-in-chief only brings forth fervent calls for her exit. She has been given more than her fair share and, now, one hopes she doesn't interfere and will allow the others their share.

Talking of people being given their share, one is in no way stating that the team would have performed any better under the original coach-designate Sudha but it doesn't rule out the possibility that she could have scripted a different story given a sole hand.

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