A Test series win for India in England after 21 years is something that will be celebrated for some

Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

By Trishna Bose[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Team India players pose with Pataudi Trophy after winning the Test series (1-0) in England after a 21-year drought and mind you without a coach.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

A Test series win for India in England after 21 years is something that will be celebrated for some time to come. Prior to the series, there was much talk about who the coach of the Indian cricket Team would be. Candidates were named and the governing body for cricket in India, the Board of Cricket Control in India ( BCCI) finalized the South African, Graham Ford as the best bet for the job. But Ford, for reasons not disclosed, refused the offer and opted out, saying that he wanted to continue as coach of the county, Kent. In India, and cricketing circles at large, speculation was rife, as to why he decided to turn away when everything was finalized, but the search for the Coach for Team India had to start all over again. A time crunch meant that a cricket manager had to be appointed for the tour to Bangladesh and the person chosen was the charismatic cricketer-turned-television personality - Ravi Shastri.

As expected the tour to Bangladesh that comprised three one-dayers and two Tests, ended tamely and the Indians came home with the much needed feeling of being winners in the sport. After a rather insipid showing in the event of the year, the ICC Cricket World Cup, the Indians needed to win and do so convincingly. The Bangladesh tour did just that for the team. The other thing that was noticed, was the fact that having a support staff like the fielding coach, Robin Singh and the bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad seemed to work better than having just one coach in charge of all the aspects. The camaraderie among the cricketers was palpable. They looked like a unit, hungry for success. Winning always helps, even if it is against minnows in the Test cricket arena, Bangladesh.

The real test was the India vs England Test series. The boys arrived for an English Summer that they hoped they would remember for all the right reasons. The fact that they now had a cricket manager in the 73-year-old veteran cricketer, Chandu Borde and a fielding and bowling coach, meant that they had arrived on foreign turf, with a new strategy and approach to the series. Captain Rahul Dravid, has said time and again that he does not feel that they are without a coach as the cricket management is in place.

Those who watched the Indians practice, have remarked that the energy and discipline seems to have lessened at the nets, since the time of Greg Chappell but what matters is that the narrow draw at Lord's and the win at Trent Bridge buoyed the spirit of the team considerably. The third Test at the Oval has been talked about extensively and many have criticized the captain's decision not to enforce the follow on. Yes, it could have been a convincing win, but what it ended up being was a draw. But it was a series win after 21 years in England, and that meant that Team India were now looking set with the new management staff in place. The question now on the agenda, was whether the team really needs a full time coach, instead of the specialized coaches that they have at present!

There will always be two schools of thought to start with. One that feels that the Indian team is doing just fine with the support staff that they have at present and one that feels that there should be a formal coach in place, preferably from overseas, so that he can bring with him a fresh perspective on how to go about maximizing the cricket talent available in the team.

If one was to list out the positives of the present team, and the overall management that is available to the team, then the captain Rahul Dravid's emergence as the man in command' comes out strong. As he marshaled his team on the field, one could see that he went about his job with a lot more authority. But mostly, what came across loud and clear was the unity in the team. They seemed genuinely happy, like a group of boys, indulging in the basic joys of getting a wicket, or hitting a boundary. The scorecard showed, that the performances were a joint team effort. There were no individual century makers, except for the unlikely candidate - spin sensation, Anil Kumble! The bowlers bowled their hearts out as they intimidated the opposition batsmen. Sure, the likes of one Shanthakumaran Sreesanth excelled in theatrics, bordering on buffoonery, but all in all, the series turned out to be a super charged affair. ICC Referee Ranjan Madugalle would not have expected so much drama as there was in the Test series, but it all adds up and gives Test cricket a much needed fillip.

Perhaps the BCCI should do a hard rethink on the coach issue. The popular saying goes to this effect, that if the machinery is working just fine, then why tamper with the system. Logical point, but the overseas victory could also be a case of coincidence. A decision has to be taken, and till then Team India will have to chug along and want to keep winning. For the patriots, being Indian and staying Indian will be the order of the day, but if one is to think long term, would this system prevail? Is there a risk in not having a professional coach for the team? Does the foreign element work best with teams from the subcontinent?

As a bystander and a keen well-wisher for the team, perhaps one would want to agree with the saying, of not upsetting the apple cart. After all, those images of sheer joy, when the Indians won the series, and the electric and infectious camaraderie will remain firmly etched in the mind.


Related Stories

Winning Moments Recorded!
Dhoni - Living life the 'Mahi' Way
Shut Up! Shut Up! Or ...
Twenty20 - Fun? Serious?

Write Comments