John, Tom or Jimmy: coaching the new coach

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: There is an unnecessary brouhaha about who the next coach of the Indian cricket team will be. Will it be Dav Whatmore or Tom Moody or John Buchanan or John Bracewell or who?

Well, it doesn’t matter who India’s next coach will eventually be.

What’s important is what happens after that.

Here’s the likely scenario:

1) The television networks, frothing in their mouths, their cameras craning for angles, will splash it all over. Except when he is in the loo, his appointment as the new coach will be covered and uncovered everywhere.

2) Before the appointment, he would have been suitably ‘appraised’ by senior players, and after he gives in to their list of ‘do’s and’ don’ts’, they would have recommended him for selection.

3) The obsequious coach next meets senior ex-captains like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri (a one-Test captain) et al seeking their help. They assure him of their support, keeping aside their knives for the time being.

4) The new coach starts his job by drawing a line in the middle of a paper and writing down who is most important on the Left side and who can be safely ignored on the Right side from among the Board, Selection Committee, Cricket Academy, State Associations, Sports correspondents, Networks, etc. The outgoing coach would have briefed the new coach to get this right as his survival would much depend on this. He borrows additional sheets from Board Secretary Niranjan Shah.

5) In the evening he is asked to visit Raj Singh Dungarpur to pay his respects, who in turn gives a long lecture on Pentangular Cricket and takes him to his uncle to pay some more respects. After another long lecture, the coach comes back tired with a splitting headache.

6) At night there is a call from Calcutta. The President of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Prasun Bannerjee invites him to inaugurate the Sourav Ganguly temple in Beliaghata with Buddha Deb Bhattacharya and Brinda Karat as special guests. After he hangs up, there is one more call. Now, their rivals under Jagmohan Dalmia invite him for the inauguration of one more Temple of Ganguly next to Amitabh Bachchan’s temple by Mamta didi and Jyoti Basu. Both the callers hold a veiled threat that they can’t promise his security at Eden Gardens if he skips the function. The coach starts sweating mildly even in the A/C room.

7) Next day, the committee which selected him feels he should be hired on a temporary basis and given a contract only after he proves himself. Till such time, the coach will draw his daily wages from Treasurer N. Srinivasan. This is communicated to him by an email which is leaked to the press even before the new coach receives it.

8) The new coach attends a felicitation function in which Mohinder Amarnath the ‘Comeback Kid’ of Indian cricket fires a salvo saying the only reason BCCI goes for a foreign coach is because of its slavish mentality even after 60 years of Independence. Worse is yet to come, when Mohinder sings a Punjabi song and sings for another half-an-hour.

9) In the same function, Mandira Bedi and Charu Sharma who are still in the West Indian hangover ask Ma Prem Rithambara to consult her tarot cards and predict how long the coach will survive .The coach is asked to show his palm so that she can read between the lines and predict for him. Finally, she admits she can do so only after seeing BCCI President Sharad Pawar’s hand. Everybody knows, nobody in India can read Pawar’s hand, not even Mr. Pawar himself!

10) Next day, the players send a delegation of advertisers to meet the coach .They feel a discussion between them could bring the players closer to the coach. At the end, coach does a bhangra with the players joining him for the song ‘agale baar cup jaroor leayenge!’ which comes as ‘Breaking News’ by all Networks in their 11 pm News.

Late night, as he is lying on the bed he remembers he hasn’t opened his coaching manual yet.

Then, he remembers the parting words of the previous coach: “You won’t need those manuals as long as you are in India!”