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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Present India - best fielding side says Trevor Penny - Who ??

Many decry that there is so much of money in cricket.  It is a game – the cricket ball swings, reverse-swings, moves, seams, bounces, shoots up from good length, sometimes scoots along, spins leg or off,  can turn the other way called doosra and theesra, can go straight or the speed can be at variance.  The batsman has split seconds to decide especially when the ball is hurled at 150 + kmph hour in the shot distance of 22 yards.  The batsmen are expected to watch the action of the bowler, pick the ball up from the hand as it is delivered, decide the length, use his foot work and execute the shot, placing it as far as possible away from the fielder who can be anywhere depending on the fielding restrictions.  Sometimes there could be extraneous factors like dew, wind or moisture which can affect not only the delivery but also the carry whilst it is air borne.  There are players like Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag, Sanath Jayasurya who can dispatch the good length ball anywhere in the arc.  Once allowed to free one’s arms the ball can be seen flying past the vast arena anywhere from thirdman to fine leg.
No Cricket is not played on field alone believes the Sports administrators.  From the days when the lonely Manager, mostly from one the Associated association who travelled alongwith the team disciplining the players and taking care of their travelling needs – the game has come a very long way.   Now there are Coaches – separately for Batting, Bowling, Fielding and one above all; mental conditioners, physios, itinerary manager, kit manager, room manager and more.
Gary Kirsten was credited to be behind the Indian Victory in WC 2011 and in the recent BCCI award ceremony all support staff were presented cheques of 50 lakhs each – that included mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton and bowling consultant coach Eric Simmons.   
By nature Indians are languid and are not known to live-wires on the field.  They are slow movers, ordinary throwers and lack the physical stamina and mental will to throw themselves at the ball.  Fielding is never our forte though there have been some extraordinary like Eknath Solkar, Brijesh Patel, Venkatraghavan, Srikkanth, Yashpal Sharma, Kapil dev, Azhar, Robin Singh, Kaif, Raina and some more…….
Now there are reports that  the present side in West Indies is supposedly the best fielding unit in the past five years. Manoj Tiwary, Virat Kohli, Raina, Badrinath have indeed lifted up the standards of the other slow movers like Munaf Patel.  
And ………. There was a quote by Penny that four-five players  are excellent.   Penny -  Who ?
Each Coach brings alongside his own team – just as politicians favour their kith and kin – the Team slowly gets saddled with people whom the Chief Coach favours.    Duncan Fletcher was appointed as the Coach in April 2011 – on a two year contract.  He out paced Stephen Fleming and Andy Flower, reportedly recommended by the outgoing coach.  Duncan Andrew Gwynne Fletcher  captained Zimbabwe and coached England Team earlier.  Eric Simons is the bowling coach; Ramji Srinivasan is the Fitness trainer; Nitin Patel is the physio; Ramesh Mane is the masseur, CKM Dhananjai is the performance analyst. Some may change and there would some more roles as well.

India has not had a fielding coach for two years now – Robin Singh was the last to don the role.   Mike Young, who was Australia''s fielding coach, worked as a consultant in late 2009  and  Duncan has first drafted in Trevor Penny.  Trevor Lionel Penney  was born in Harare, did not represent Zimbabwe but  played for Warwickshire County Cricket Club, was known to be good fielder.  He had a stint with Lankan team as assistant coach.  He was also associated with Western Warriors under Tom Moody for the next three years.

Even in a democracy, with the change in Govt. posts like Govt Pleader, Administrators, Law keepers, Chancellor of University and other posts which should not have political leaning – do change and perhaps nothing much is to be read in to the new team that would be in place when Duncan starts his affairs at the helm.

When India wins, nothing would be cared – it will be bounty of riches for anyone remotely associated with the game – thy name Cricket

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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