October 28, 2000

Surti advocates an Indian coach

Normally an issue like the appointment of a coach for the Indian cricket team is met with a lukewarm response. Recently however there has been a raging debate over the issue and all because of the fact that the Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to appoint a foreign coach. It is for the first time since a coach (or a cricket manager) was first appointed in 1990 that a foreigner will be in charge of training the national squad. Not surprisingly, there have been many views for and against the proposal. While some feel there are enough qualified Indians for the post, others are of the view that perhaps what Indian cricket needs is a foreign coach.

The latest to join issue on this topic is former Test cricketer Rusi Surti. A utility player who represented India in 26 Tests from 1960 to 1969, Surti's ubiquitous qualities - aggressive left handed batsmanship, capability to bowl both pace and spin and an outstanding fielder in any position - would have made him an ideal player in limited overs cricket. Speaking to Gulf News in Sharjah on Friday, Surti was of the opinion that the BCCI should explore all options available within the country before deciding on a foreign coach for the national team. "It's the prerogative of the board as to whom to hire but personally I think there are a galaxy of Indian cricketers who can coach," said Surti, who is one of the CBFS beneficiaries this year, along with Dilip Sardesai and Navjot Singh Sidhu.

"I can reel off 10-20 names... then why look outside India," the 64-year-old Surti told the newspaper, adding that the present coach Anshuman Gaekwad was doing a great job with the team.

Surti, who migrated to Australia in the early 70s presently runs his own academy in Brisbane for training youngsters. "Technology has made cricket coaching a lot different and better," said Surti, who employs video footage to tutor his wards at the academy.

During the same interview, Surti praised the CBFS saying they were doing excellent work. "They are doing a great job and I hope the BCCI also takes the cue and helps past cricketers," he said.