An Exciting time for Indian Coaches and Selectors

Posted: August 27, 2011 by thecognitivenomad in Cricket, Opinion
Tags: , , ,

Sridhar Divakar

August 27 2011

It’s a pretty interesting time for selectors and coaches in India. Our Cricket Team which was considered World Champions in both formats of the game has just been dethroned from their No.1 status in Tests. Next milestone for the opposition will be to win the ODI series. A victory in this series will help them assuage their pain caused by the dramatic draw in the world cup. But getting back to the point that I started this article with, this really is an interesting time to be a coach or selector.

An angry press reacts in the extreme after the whitewash in England

A few months back, this team looked like a fantastic batting unit. It had the perfect blend of Experience and Youth. The bowling department seemed well stocked. The fielding standards too had reached levels never before expected from an Indian outfit.  It seemed that the national coach just couldn’t do any wrong and that the national selectors had finally picked the perfect team. Underneath the national level, was this matrix of myriad players, coaches, selectors, officials etc. who really felt as though they didn’t have much to contribute. They felt their current system had succeeded in creating a world champion team anyway.

Post this recent Test Series against England, or post what must have seemed like an eternity to the entire Indian outfit in England, every damn person(read coach, selector, columnist, player etc.) is talking or writing about the national team’s performance (or the lack of it!). The regional coaches and selectors have suddenly seen a silver lining through the dark English clouds. Overnight they have turned into these experts who always knew what was lacking in the Indian cricket system and what had to be done. It’s just that they were not given the chance.  The Tactic now – point fingers at any one of the millions of flaws that the Indian team displayed during their appalling performance. These critics, who seemed to be taking responsibility for Indian cricket success just a few months ago, seem to have cleverly shifted over to the side that is throwing criticism, now that the national side has given a dismal performance. And there is this resurgent media interest in finding out what exactly was the issue,  which has given them (critics)another shot at getting famous.

When times were good, no one seemed to have noticed flaws that, in any case, were inherent to the team

Funny!! Very funny indeed.  The point I make here is, if these people were so well aware and so concerned, where were they before the start of the series. A Zaheer Khan’s selection to the TEST squad was not debated before the start of the series in spite of him not having enough match practice. A certain Suresh Raina’s preparedness against the short ball was just not paid attention to after India’s World Cup victory. Yes he did play well in the West Indies. But those were different tracks. And he was playing against a shorter, comparatively inaccurate and slower set of bowlers. Where were the critics then? People were dying for Sehwag to return as if he has been blessed with the art of getting runs even after he was out. How else can you justify his selection to the team and the consequent silence of Indian cricket fans? All these men are supremely talented –no doubt. On their day, they can demoralize any attack in the world. But even the great Achilles practiced before a war. There is this certain mindset and this certain physical state that each player gets into before any important game. The Indians probably reached that state on the 3rd day of each test. And by that time, England was in command.

And now that the series is over, these millions of self prophesized experts slowly creep out in the open and bathe in the limelight of a vicious loss. Pretty sad picture for a country that breathes cricket. I am not saying that we should just sit back. No. This is definitely the time to act. But if only we had acted earlier. If only these realizations had dawned upon our selectors, coaches and players earlier. We would have had an outstanding series. And I feel cricket India owed this to fan – the simple aam aadmi whose craze fuels this game’s growth in this country.

It’s time to take advantage of the opportunity that this series drubbing has lent us. As an ardent fan of a game that has time and again shown what a great leveler it is,  I urge all you experts to come forth and draw up a plan, irrespective of which level you operate in in this country. Create a concrete development process, define selection and player fitness policies, improve the standards of pitches in india, pay close attention to sports medicine and nutrition of players. There are hundreds of things to be done. Instead of giving interviews and writing columns, please invest you time in such exciting endeavors. Be part of this exciting process of transformation. You know people are hearing you out. There is just so much you can achieve now.

At times I wonder why I gave up playing so early in life. I could at least have ended up as a coach or selector in some small club in some small town in India. And this would have been the time I would have been waiting for!

What an exciting time for selectors and coaches in India!!!

  1. thecognitivenomad says:

    I agree Sridhar, every Tom, Dick and Harry today poses to be an expert in identifying the flaws within the cricketing setup here. These voices were virtually unheard of when times were good.

  2. Press and media always are extreme in their reactions in India w.r.t. cricket.

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