|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Games||Mobile|
MS Dhoni enjoyed a brief respite from international cricket as India toured Zimbabwe and before that, during the West Indies tri-series when he broke down with injury. Though he has the advantage of home conditions to tackle the immediate challenges of Australia and West Indies in November, G Unnikrishnan of Deccan Herald predicts Dhoni's legacy is on the line as India get back on the road again
If that [South Africa] tour happens, then it will mark the beginning of a year that will see India visiting New Zealand, England and Australia - places that offer not much comfort for visiting teams. Here, Dhoni's skills as captain, batsman and man manager will come under harsh assay. It's a possibility that India may not have the towering presence of Tendulkar on those tours, leaving Dhoni in charge of completely new-look Test team
An unsettled Australian team has historically never done well in England and with problems regarding the team surfacing on this tour, questions are being asked of Australia's ability to match England in the upcoming Ashes. How they counter these problems, according to Tim Lane in the Age, will depend on team unity and the backing that the coaching staff - specifically Mickey Arthur and Pat Howard - can provide to Michael Clarke.
Australian cricket took a long time to accept the concept of a coach. Bob Simpson was the first and he was eventually forced out for being too interventionist. Ian Chappell, who profoundly influenced Australian cricketers over more than one generation, always said coaches were for transportation from hotel to ground. Shane Warne, whose level of influence needs no elaboration, was similarly dismissive. These two are archetypal figures of Australian cricket and their views resonate. Right now, though, it's hard to avoid the view that Clarke needs all the support he can get from off the field. And if that involves tough love, so be it. Those who are causing trouble need to be confronted with the type of coaching discipline footballers expect to receive if they wilfully step out of line.
Greg Chappell, the former Australia captain and India coach, talks to the Telegraph's Lokendra Pratap Sahi about his relationships with Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, and his philosophies in cricket.
The role [of a coach] is highly misunderstood [in India] and the expectations are very high... When I took over, the expectations were such that nobody could have achieved what was expected. One must realise that, at times, you need to risk losing in order to set things up for the future.
Dravid showed courage because, for everyone else, it was we can't do this, for if we get beaten, the media would tear us apart... Dravid did a magnificent job, because he bought into the philosophy of taking risks, making changes and looking ahead. As I've said, you don't stand still in sport... We wanted to take risks because we wanted to get better as a team.
Former England captain Mike Brearley, who works now as a psychotherapist, talks about the importance and tactics of captaincy, the Kevin Pietersen saga, the role of coaches and more, in an interview with Subhash Jayaraman in the Cricket Couch.
Basically, these guys have to decide whether to have two slips and a gully, or whether to bowl this bowler from this end, or whether someone is tired and needs to be changed, or what is a good score on a certain pitch etc. That is the tactical side, and you still have a great responsibility of influencing the team, for grooming people together into a team that really supports each other, or building up the confidence of someone who is less confident, or challenging someone who is over confident. All of that, and trying to play yourself. All these things are absolutely the same.
Sourav Ganguly made Steve Waugh wait for the toss during that famous series in India in 2001; Younis Khan went a step further in the President's Cup final between Habib Bank Limited and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines limited, by remaining absent. Instead, it was his deputy Imran Farhat who walked out for the toss with Misbah-ul-Haq. These weren't mindgames, however. Younis was stuck in traffic in Karachi for hours due to a protest march following a terrorist attack in Quetta on January 11; it didn't help that Younis' cell-phone network was not working. He only made it to the ground after lunch, and fortunately for him his team, HBL, chose to field.
Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand captain, has reportedly burnt his New Zealand blazer in protest against Ross Taylor's demotion as captain. The New Zealand Herald reported that golfer Ryan Fox re-tweeted a message from Crowe's @MartinCrowe299 account: "Burnt NZ cricket blazer Dec 7, 2012. RIP." Crowe's account, according to the newspaper, has since been deleted, together with the tweet, and so is Fox's re-tweet.
When the Herald tried to get in touch with Crowe, he texted: "With respect ... no comment now or ever." Crowe, in a column for ESPNcricinfo, voiced support for Taylor during the latest captaincy crisis, writing : "Over the last week NZC destroyed the soul of Ross Taylor, easily our best player. They have apparently apologised for the way his sacking from the captaincy was handled. Nevertheless they have amputated his spirit and there is no prosthetic for that.
"And yet NZC goes unaccountable. They continue to strip the worth from players and, therefore, as an organisation, they have definitely become worthless."
If at all his tweet was genuine, the literally fiery protest was just an affirmation of his disgust at the current state of New Zealand cricket. Pity there isn't a screen-grab to show for the drama. Perhaps, it was Crowe doing an Ashes with his blazer, not a pair of bails.