Stars need not make good coaches

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Wednesday, June 7, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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Critics and aficionados of the game rate Kapil Dev amongst the five best all-rounders the game has ever seen. He is in the distinguished company of Sir Garfield Sobers, Richie Benaud, Ian Botham and Imran Khan.

As such, he ought to have been an outstanding coach, in the sense that he could handle all departments of the game with equal felicity. As things have turned out to be, Kapil has been even less than moderately successful, like his predecessors, Anshuman Gaekwad, Madan Lal and Ajit Wadekar.

His job now appears to be on the line. No, it is not so because his name is figuring prominently in the betting and match-fixing imbroglio that is under a thorough investigation at the moment.

The worst-ever performance by the Indian team in the Asia Cup in the last week must have been the last straw on his back. The only team we beat was Bangladesh. Even they knocked up a total of over 200 against our attack. The rest of the performances were just miserable.

The argument that the dark shadow of the ongoing controversy may have been hanging over the heads of our players, for them to be able to give off their best, may not hold much water. There were more Pakistani players' directly indicted by Justice Qayyam, and yet they managed to play their natural game.

Kapil Dev's lack of success, so far, as a coach once again proves the adage that an outstanding performer may not necessarily turn out to be an excellent coach. This game at international level has seen many a celebrity turn a turnip when it comes to taking up the assignment of a coach.

Sir Donald Bradman, never did even once poke his nose into the business of coaching at any level of the game, even though his "The Essence of Cricket" has been acknowledged as the best coaching manual ever written on the game .

The same was the case with some of the greats of English cricket, like Wally Hammond, Dennis Compton, Peter May and the rest. Ian Botham too has recently turned down the responsibility of being the coach of the present England team.

Amongst the West Indians, it was only Clive Lloyd who, after being an outstanding player, had signed off as their country's most successful coach. The rest of them have been big failures.

One remembers how Sir Garfield Sobers was invited to Australia to take up coaching assignments at a cricket academy amidst tremendous fanfare. The euphoria of having the greatest all-rounder of all time as a coach soon faded and Sobers himself drifted more into owning race-horses than bringing up promising young Australians as cricketers of the future.

Another West Indies great, Vivian Richards not only had the shortest stint as national coach, but also an assignment that was nothing short of a disaster. He was eventually humiliated by being replaced by Roger Harper without even as much as a prior intimation of his sacking.

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