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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011 – the Team preparations and Role of Coaches and Support Staff.

The present day Cricket is played more out of the field much before the events start happening.  A great reliance is placed on the Coach and other support staff and each team have big complement of them.  For India, in the present WC 2011 – the head coach is Gary Kirsten accompanied by :
           Mental conditioning coach: Paddy Upton
           Fitness trainer: Ramji Srinivasan
           Physiotherapist: Nitin Patel
           Masseur: Ramesh Mane
           Performance analyst: C.K.M. Dhananjai
           Bowling consultant: Eric Simons ( For a period of 6 months starting January 2010)

In the last WC 2007 where India performed poorly and exited in the first round, the coach was Greg Chappel.  Greg coached the team for 3 seasons developed lots of fissures in the team; reportedly had a tiff with Sachin, was at loggerheads with Sourav Ganguly.  Perhaps Dravid was happier and Irfan was – Irfan was promoted to no. 3 in many of the matches when Greg was at the helm.  In recent interview he had confided that the decision to relinquish the post of Indian coach was made much before the WC 2007 as there was a clear philosophical clash and that he was not prepared to compromise (what !!)  He had also tried to clear the air stating that he never doubted Sachin’s commitment and that they differed on the batting order concluding that he would have handled Sachin  differently now than he had done earlier.

The present coach Gary Kirsten played earlier for South Africa in 101 tests and 185 tests.   He has been with the Indian team from March 2008 and reportedly has brought in considerable improvement in performance levels. He has stated that he would not renew the contract due to family reasons to spend more time with his sons and wife.  Incidentally the tenure of SA coach Corrie Van Zyl is also about to end.

How well a team would perform because of a Coach and whether fortunes would swing wildly because of an individual Coach are debatable.  Here is something of the past, which would make an interesting reading.  The lines below  were circulated to my group through e-mail on 12/6/2007

Shambolic: To  Ford  - Kent is bigger than India !!! but why did BCCI wanted him in first place ???.

The BCCI's shambolic efforts to find a national coach took an embarrassing turn today with the much touted Graham Ford, turning down the offer.  Yesterday's flavour became today's bitter aftertaste.  The story is  often heard in Software parks and in some Insurance Companies as well.  The wisemen select somebody thoroughly satisfied with their credentials of fitting bill (sometimes a fat one!) but the incumbent after receiving orders, gives it a rethought and chooses to stay back with the erstwhile people.

During 2005, Tom Moody, Mohinder, Desmond Haynes were the names that went rounds but it was Greg Chappel.  At Chennai on Saturday (9/6/07) a seven-man committee listened to presentations from  Graham Ford.  To create the illusion of a contest for a job that had once interested so many, the board roped in Emburey, a man with no coaching credentials to speak of.  Both of them had flown in, in the same flight & Emburey returned empty handed. It was no secret that Ford was the players' choice, with the grapevine suggesting that the move for him had been initiated by Rahul Dravid, the Indian captain. After Greg Chappell's tenure, characterised by off-field controversy as much as anything on the field.  Ford - who has a reputation as a back-room facilitator rather than an outspoken disciplinarian - was seen as the perfect choice to heal the fissures within the Indian team.

Earlier the press suggested that Dav Whatmore had already been offered the job.  Though he denied any such motive, Sunil Gavaskar, a member of the committee  had a while back pointed out in a newspaper column that Habibul Bashar, the Bangladesh captain, hadn't received enough tactical help from the think-tank during the recent home series against India, a statement that seemed to hint at his disapproval of Whatmore.

Ford – Who ???
His playing record is nothing significant. . A top-order batsman, he averaged 13.5 in seven first-class matches for Natal B.   He reportedly  is unassuming and determinedly low key but ascended gradually to the position of South African coach, by-passing several bigger and more familiar names along the way.   At the beginning of 1999, Ford was appointed assistant to Bob Woolmer, a role he carried through to the 1999 World Cup, before taking over the senior position when Woolmer's contract ran out after the World Cup. The Hansiegate Affair, however, massively disrupted the South African side, and Ford was fired in 2001. He moved to Kent as director of cricket in 2004, and while there oversaw an influx of South African players to the county. In 2006 he returned home to take charge of the Dolphins and in June 2007 was offered the challenge of coaching India but, to the embarrassment of the BCCI, declined.

The fiasco has merely highlighted the board's ineptitude in finding the right man for the job. India were sent packing from the World Cup long before the April-fool jokes were sent out, yet no serious attempt was made to draw up a shortlist of replacements for Greg Chappell.  Squads will be selected on Tuesday to tour Ireland and England and there is no time to find a coach to accompany the team Test series against England, begins?  For a start, do they even know where to look? This is an embarrassment that the BCCI has brought upon itself

The aftermath of that – with the resignation of Greg Chappen and declinature of Graham Ford, India embarked tour of England in 2007 without a Coach.  The hard hitting Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan were not in the squad dropped to poor performances, while Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel were declared not fully fit.  

India won the 3 Test series : 1-0.  The top 3 run getters were Dinesh Karthik, Ganguly and Sachin.  Zaheer took 18 wickets.   In the 7 ODI series, England won 4 – 3.  

28 years ago, when Kapil’s devils lifted the Prudential World Cup 1983, the team did not have a Coach or a Doctor or a Physiotherapist.  A solitary representative of BCCI  Prof. Chandgadkar was present to see off the team.  Air-India forced the BCCI to pay for the extra baggage for the trip to London. There was a single official travelling with the team – PR Man Singh from Hyderabad who was the designated Team Manager.  In one of his interviews, he had stated that the nets were manned by Jimmy Mohinder Amarnath whilst Kapil and Sunil Gavaskar decided on batting order and bowling line-up.  In the finals, right through the innings, a slip fielder was positioned.  The members of the 1983 World Cup squad reportedly were paid Rs. 12,500 each as tour money and shared the winner's purse of £30,000. After all the celebrations of being World Cup champion, each of them including Man Singh ended up with Rs. 2.5 lakhs each.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

1 comment:

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