Anshuman Gaekwad was the coach of the Indian team from 1998 to the middle of 1999. He not only knew the game very well, but also commanded respect from the players.
His record as a coach too was satisfactory and many still believe that there was no need for the Board to have removed him and brought in Kapil Dev. Further, he never made any controversial comments though he was always outspoken.
Indian cricket is of supreme interest to Anshuman and he does not believe in mixing the game with other aspects of life. Anshuman is confident of the team doing well in the two One-day Internationals for which he has now been named as coach. The following is an excerpt of an exclusive telephonic interview with Thatscricket.com.
How does it feel to be back as the coach?
Obviously I am very happy. I think India are a good side and I'm confident that we will do well in Nairobi and Sharjah.
Are you mentally prepared to accept this assignment in the eleventh hour?
Yes there is no question about that. I was the coach of the team upto June 1999 and only a year has gone by .I know all the players personally and they know me too. It is true that I received the offer at the last moment, but there is absolutely no problem. I am just happy to back as the coach.
What would your top priority be?
Well definitely winning both the tournaments. I know it is difficult, but achievable as India has the capacity. Surely that would be my top priority.
You have been appointed as the coach only for the two One-day Internationals, what about the next series at home?
I am certainly not thinking on those lines. Right now I have been appointed coach of the team for these two series, so I am concentrating only on these two tournaments.
Did you put any condition before accepting the job?
No. I accepted the job only because India needed a coach and if they think I was the man for the job then I can't say no. Ultimately I am serving my country.
There are rumours that you would be made the chairman of the selection committee and a foreign coach would be appointed, your comments.
Yes, I have also heard the rumours. But, how many roles can I don at the same time.
Would you accept an offer to coach the team for a longer period?
Yes I will.
What would you prefer - the job of a coach or the post of a chairman of selectors?
Let the Board decide.
Will you miss Srinath at the Nairobi tournament?
There is no doubt that he is a class bowler and any captain or coach would love to have him in the team. Yes we will miss him, but at the same time he is keen to play more in Tests and that could be good decision.
Is it wise to have a new wicket-keeper as all the three probable wicket-keepers haven't had any international exposure?
They may be new to the international arena, but they have playing in India for quite sometime. All the three probable wicket-keepers are very promising.
Any comment on Kapil Dev's decision to quit the job.
No, I don't want to say anything about that.