BCCI infatuated with foreign coach

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Monday, September 25, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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The top-brass of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are so highly infatuated by the idea of getting a coach of foreign origin, that they are beginning to get somewhat desperate.

What else can explain the mentioning of names of ex-players with faded reputation, such as Dean Jones and Andy Roberts, amongst the likely choice for the plum post, that is now being described as a "consultant," with the Indian team.

Having tried to lure former Australian team coach Geoff Marsh and ex-New Zealand captain, John Wright, the BCCI think-tank seems to be considering almost anyone, who has at some time or other been a national coach, whatever his credentials.

Dean Jones, who like our Kapil Dev, seems to enjoy his golf more than his old association with cricket, and by his own submission has made it clear that he does not fancy himself as any great cricket coach.

As for Andy Roberts, he is a spent-force even as a coach, as he was as a player many years ago. He does not have any great track record as the West Indies coach.

It may also be recalled that it was the Indian players, who had first raised suspicions about Andy Roberts' bowling action, when they found the bouncer rising alarmingly to head height, even without the ball being pitched short of a good length, something that hardly any pace bowler can achieve

This once again brings us to the question of whether a foreign coach is a "must ?" Our recent experiences have been such as to turn the acquisition of a coach of "phoren" label as some kind of a joke.

Bobby Simpson was appointed a consultant on fabulous terms but his assignment was only that of a "visiting consultant." When it counted the most, as during the last World Cup in England, he was hardly able to contribute anything. You know where India finished, despite having all the potential of making the semi-finals.

For countries like India, what Imran Khan says is as true as it comes. "The coach hardly counts," says the former Pakistan captain. If the team is good, you just do not need any great coach and, contrarily, a good coach cannot make a weak team into a strong one."

Imran says, it is the captain who can make all the difference. "A coach in cricket is a misnomer, says Imran. "His job actually is to look after administrative matters."

Comparatively speaking, therefore, the contribution made to the team by someone like Aunshuman Gaekwad has been remarkable We can do well by dropping this unnecessary possessiveness of a foreign coach.

The appointment of a foreign coach would mean not only a waste of enormous amount of money, but, resultwise, also counter-productive , as our past experience has shown.

One would, however, like to welcome the unassuming cricket secretary of the Cricket Club of India, Keki Kotwal as manager of the Indian team to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Knock Out tournament.

A man of few words, Keki has always been in the forefront of looking after the arrangements, especially the players' interest, whenever big international matches have been played at the once famous venue, the Brabourne Stadium.

Starting with the appointment of Brijesh Patel as manager of the World Cup team last years and Prof Ratnakar Shetty, of the Mumbai Cricket Association, to look after India's junior teams, the BCCI have been utilsing the talents of men who are devoted administrators of the game. These appointments, for once, have not been based on vote-catching potential.

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