E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: It is now clear the selection of the next coach for the Indian Cricket team is becoming more and more difficult. And, against this, even the election of the new President is paling into insignificance. Horse-trading, broad ‘understanding’ and intrigues are of course integral part of the process.
Let’s take a look at the team which selects the person for the toughest job in the world, after that of the President of the United States of America, that is.
In the heterogeneous crowd, there is the Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar hemmed in by Professor Ratnakar Shetty, a bunch of industrialists led by N. Srinivasan and Lalit Modi, and MPs with a past like the ‘great’ Sunil Gavaskar and ‘not-so-great’ cricketers bunched together, which makes it quite a motley crowd.
As this bunch move around the country and abroad, as they did recently, there are several problems confronting the Committee.
For starters, ‘Senior Cricketers’—god knows why they have to be consulted and therefore have a say—have openly shown their displeasure of any Indian who dares to coach them. Due to their elevated status as high scorers in the game which is inversely proportional to their ability to win matches, any candidate sent to them by the Board is rejected at the gate itself and sent way, if he is not a foreigner.
The Past Cricketers are keen to bring an Indian Coach who might have either coached foreign teams or might have passed a coaching diploma without ever playing cricket or an Indian coach who might have played at least tennis-ball cricket. In such a scenario, it’s not surprising the Greats and ‘Not-so-Greats’ are themselves at loggerheads!
Others in the Committee, who are the moneybags, feel that there should be a coach for only the First Innings and a separate coach for Second Innings as BCCI was just lolling in too much moolah. The Professor wanted a coach only for ‘Power Plays’ and a CA exclusively for ‘Duckworth-Lewis’ calculations.
The Union agriculture minister who can read everybody’s mind except his own was keen to solve the issue as cricket was taking too much of his time and was cutting in to the allotted time he had kept to study farmers’ suicide in Vidharbha.
When the crowd visited various countries for interviewing coaches, the Minister found a West Indian coach of Indian descent, Grundig Rundig Vashy, who had rubbed shoulders with the greats in West Indies. They also found a Coach for our spinners, Everton Alexander Samuel Praz.
The senior players sniffed, sensed rum, and said they had no objections as the coaches were ‘foreign’. The past great cricketers were happy that the coaches though foreign, were of Indian origin.
Seeing everybody happy, the agriculture minister was also happy. His meeting on a rainy night in the KSCA stadium had yielded results. Footing their bills for six months in West Indies was no big deal. After all, BCCI was the richest body in sports history. Hollywood makeup chaps and Barbados speech trainers had done an excellent job!
Any one who watched the cover drive or the curl of the off- break of the coaches was reminded of our own masters, Vishwanath and Prasanna!