Aakash Chopra
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Former India opener; author of Beyond the Blues, an account of the 2007-08 Ranji Trophy season

Who after Fletcher?

In the past Indian coaches have been appointed based on what they achieved in their playing careers; the current team cannot have one of those

Aakash Chopra

January 21, 2013

Comments: 110 | Text size: A | A

Duncan Fletcher watches Umesh Yadav bowl, Mumbai, November 10, 2012
India's next coach will have the difficult job of fixing the team's technical problems as well as its tactical ones © AFP
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Nearly two years ago, when Duncan Fletcher replaced Gary Kirsten as the coach of the Indian team, he must have thought that a success similar to Kirsten's would improve his coaching CV exponentially. After all, there is no bigger test as a coach than taking charge of one of the world's most influential set of cricketers. But at the back of his mind would have been the case of Greg Chappell, who was booted out by a vociferous Indian public and an unhappy bunch of senior cricketers.

No points for guessing where Fletcher stands today. The last 18 months have been horrendous for him and India.

Wasn't it supposed to be one of the easier assignments? India were No. 1 in Tests and World Cup winners. All Fletcher had to do was consolidate. But that's where most of us, and Fletcher, got it wrong, for coaching and mentoring aren't so much about preservation as about fortification.

His contract will soon come to an end. So who will be the right person for the job now, especially with India on a downward spiral?

There have, as usual, been calls for an Indian coach. This reminds me of a training session Jonty Rhodes, then South Africa's fielding coach, conducted for his players before a friendly match against Delhi years ago. He placed different coloured cones at various angles in different parts of the field, and the South African players went on to display how a professionally run international unit carries out a fielding drill.

While South Africa went about practising in a meticulously planned manner, we, the Delhi players, did a few laps and some very basic fielding practice. One such drill was reminiscent of how cricket was played nearly a century ago. Our coach, a former India player, got us to stand in a semi-circle around him. One of us would throw a ball at him and he would deflect it with his hands back towards us, trying to change the direction of the ball regularly to catch us by surprise. It was Mickey Mouse stuff for first-class cricketers. The South African players couldn't resist a chuckle looking at our archaic fielding drill.

The only criterion the Delhi association considered while assigning this former Indian player the role of coaching a first-class team was his experience in international cricket. To be fair, his resumé was inspiring, loaded with many cricketing achievements over a long career, but it wasn't appropriate for this job, because he hadn't upgraded his knowledge with the changing times.

Another coach, also a former India player of repute, would typically respond to any cricket-related query with, "Jigar se khelo" ("Play with your gut"). Since he had been a very good cricketer in his heyday, we often asked him for tips, and invariably his advice was this statement.

Unfortunately this sort of coaching isn't an aberration in India. The history of coaching in the country is littered with many such oddities and incidents, which aren't limited to players of the past.

Many Indian coaches, for instance, have shied away from taking on the responsibility of correcting a player's technical flaws. One coach, now associated with an IPL franchise and a Ranji team, didn't know how to fix a fast bowler's no-ball problem. To correct an overstepping issue you only need to measure the run-up with a tape, or mark the point of the jump and put something close to the popping crease that works as a deterrent. The coach in question simply scolded the erring bowler every time he overstepped.

Many former India players have tried their hand at coaching, considering it the easiest option after retirement. While playing cricket at the highest level for a reasonable amount of time does teach you to deal with many issues in the game, and involving a team's needs, it doesn't always teach you how to pass on that knowledge to others, especially the finer nuances of individual play.

The difference between learning and teaching is the difference between a player and a good coach. A player can point out a fault, but a good coach will come up with solutions to rectify that fault without tinkering too much with the existing strengths of the player. It helps if you have played cricket, for it allows you to understand better and quicker, but only having played the game is not a good enough qualification for a coach.

While playing cricket at the highest level for a reasonable amount of time does teach you to deal with many issues in the game, and involving a team's needs, it doesn't always teach you how to pass on that knowledge to others

Some of the best players of the game have made poor coaches, because it's unimaginable for them to fathom why what was so easy for them seems so difficult for another. For instance, why should a player have trouble releasing the ball with an upright seam or playing an on-drive without falling over? These things come naturally to great players and they don't have the ability to understand the difficulties less-talented players confront.

I remember the story of a young player who asked Brian Lara for a few tips while practising against the bowling machine. Lara spoke to him about the importance of getting the front leg out of the way while playing on the front foot, but the player was unable to grasp the explanation. Lara decided to show the kid how it was done. He asked the feeder to increase the pace, walked in to bat without leg guards, and put on a scintillating display of high-class batting for 20 minutes, in which he played all the inswinging balls through the covers and the outswingers through midwicket. The kid admired every shot from the master but remained at sea about his problems, just as he had been before speaking to Lara.

Now that Fletcher seems out of favour more or less, and the Indian board might be likely to be looking for an Indian coach to salvage the team's lost pride, the question is: should a candidate's credentials as a player, and his nationality, be kept in mind, or should his qualifications and body of work as a coach be considered over them?

While the idea of India having an Indian coach is definitely plausible, we must not forget why the BCCI chose, more than a decade ago, to pick a foreign coach over an Indian one. In the days before then, Indian coaches were chosen not for their coaching skills but for their past contributions as players. These former cricketers didn't acknowledge the seriousness of their new assignment and didn't pursue it with as much diligence. They failed to realise that to do justice to a new job, they had to start from scratch and educate themselves. Playing for the country gave them an advantage, but only just, for they still needed to learn how to pass on their knowledge efficiently.

The other problem most cricketers had with Indian coaches was their affiliations to their respective states and zones. Indian coaches of the past wouldn't think twice before talking to a player in a shared regional language. While there was nothing wrong in doing so in private, doing so publicly led to a feeling of discord.

If we were to look for an Indian coach to replace Fletcher, we must look at the ones who have taken NCA coaching courses to acquire theoretical knowledge of how to identify and rectify players' mistakes and have handled assignments with Ranji and India A teams. There are a few of them.

The next India coach will be taking over a young team that is going through a crucial transition, so he will need to have a lot more than game sense and man-management skills. He won't only be required to make plans but also to get personnel ready to execute those plans.

While there's a case for having an Indian coach, it's naïve to believe that anyone who has played a lot of cricket and is Indian will automatically resurrect the team.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

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Posted by lynds on (January 24, 2013, 20:55 GMT)

I think Stephen Fleming would be a wonderful coach for India. He's done a great job as coach of the Chennai Superkings & he has the same laid-back style as Gary Kirsten. I was gobsmacked when Duncan Fletcher was appointed coach. He was an ordinary player a generation ago & his style is abrasive. After a coach like Kirsten (who must be thinking 'What the hell have you done to my team!') who was inclusive, confidence-inspiring & not old enough to be the grandfather of players like Virat Kohli, Fletcher was the worst choice imaginable. Because of the politics involved in Indian cricket, I think an overseas head coach would be far better for the team, but it has to be someone who can relate to the team on a personal, as well as a professional manner.

Posted by archere3 on (January 24, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

@sumanc1979, Those who are against ganguly/ kumble as coach b'cause they don't have prior coaching experience should know that even Kirsten didn't coach any team (doemstic or international) before India. And the only reservation I have against these two is that they should be coaching only after their ex colleagues retire. And my preference will not be Ganguly/ Kumble if I have to pick a coach based on how great they are while playing. then It would be SACHIN. But unfortunately he will never be a good coach.

Posted by kas211 on (January 24, 2013, 10:33 GMT)

Great article Aakash. I feel as though one of the largest problems in Indian cricket is the "God" like status we have given some of the players. We've put some of these players on such a high pedestal that the selectors are afraid to drop them and the players think they're indispensable . I recently watched an episode of The Newshour on Times Now which had Bishen Singh Bedi come on the show and he told viewers some very disturbing stories. He said that one of the coaches of the team asked some players to do some sprints during practice, to which one of the players replied "What's the point, its not like we're preparing for the Olympics" - something along those lines. I feel as though no matter who the Indian coach is, nothing will change until the players realize they are representing their country on an international stage and that they should consider it as a privilege to be playing for the country.

Posted by rosh280 on (January 24, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

you are right Akash. At this point of time india really needs a coach who is someone technically brilliant and and methodical. I feel Michael Bevan is the right choice as he is a man of great personality and a player of talent. Sachin,kapil, rahul dravid, sreenath, anil kumble can be the great coaches but some time needed to make that changes. Michel bevan is a great choice for the new coach.

Posted by Nampally on (January 24, 2013, 1:43 GMT)

Aakash, Your thoughts on having an India coach is noble & patriotic. But is India ready to accept an Indian Coach? Even selection of the Indian squad & XI is jam packed with politics. How do you expect an Indian Coach even of stature of Dravid & Gangully to succeed amongst these politics. No, in my opinion India is not yet ready for an Indian coach. I think the next coach should be someone like Warne or Gilchrist of Australia. Both got on famously with Rajasthan & Hyderabad IPL teams & I thought they did a superb job in finding talent & even unitting sagging teams. Neither of these 2 have been on coaching assignments before. But I can bet my bottom dollar they will be far superior to Fletcher or Chappel. Also I like to see the Coach being involved in the Selection of the squad along with the Captain for the sake of accountability & keeping the Selectors Honest. I also like to see Coach being one of the 4 man committee to pick the final XI to keep the Captain honest & unbiased!.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (January 23, 2013, 19:59 GMT)

Before India can decide on who the coach is, it must decide what it wants to achieve and then appoint a coach who can help deliver the goals. IMO the goal over the next 6-12 months is to rebuild. That means identifying a pool of bowlers and batsmen who will represent India beyond and work with them on getting and staying fit, being competitve when the chips are down, fighting until the last run or wicket, forgetting about winning and losing, selecting players on form and fitness and no star player status on any player thus getting rid of the undroppable player mentality.

Posted by noboundaries on (January 23, 2013, 18:51 GMT)

I agree Aakash that all past players may not make good coaches, but surely India is not totally bereft of good coaches! I am sure the likes of Dravid, Tendulkar & Dhoni were coached by somebody who was not a famous player. By all means appoint another Overseas coach and also make it a condition that he takes an Indian developing coach so that he can learn & flourish. Football clubs do this all the time.

Posted by crindo77 on (January 23, 2013, 17:38 GMT)

Good article. But problems with the Indian team start with the way most Indians do things. Just as India's political parties and movie industry are dependent on a dynastic culture, which is doing nobody any good, the culture of star players and hero worship is so entrenched in Indian cricket, that no coach will ever have a level playing field. Add this to an increasingly complex equation of sponsorships, IPL regional quotas, constant scrutiny by an obsessive media and fans, and a deep sense of resentment against other cricketing boards after the recent hurtful thrashings in Tests, and this job is pure poison. And because of that very fact, BCCI might just go for a very dispensable Indian coach. Because more than anything, thats what an Indian coach will be. Dispensable.

Posted by kalyanbk on (January 23, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

Most people would agree that Stephen Fleming would be the right person. In case he is not inclined, Steve Waugh would be a good choice with Wasim Akram as bowling coach and Robin Singh as fielding coach.

Posted by binojpeter on (January 23, 2013, 3:50 GMT)

I don't think coach of a national team should concern himselves with correcting technical faults of players. That should have been sought out before you start playing at international level. If not, get dropped, go back to NCA, correct your faults, play well in domestic matches and make your comeback. In international level, especially Test cricket, it is all mind game. Those who win it becomes successful. It is the ability to come back at a batsman who clobbered you in the previous delivery or set the batsman up for a dismissal. It is the ability to come back after being shocked by a bouncer and sensing the set up of the bowlers. It is about studying opposition batsmen's weaknesses and opposition bowler's stock deliveries and developing strategies accordingly. For these, what players need at international level is mental back up and help in planning strategies. Nothing else

Posted by ashesm on (January 23, 2013, 3:42 GMT)

Sorry Akash, I would have to disagree to an extent. The role you prescribe seems to be that of a technical one. If you follow leadership you will realise that technical ability is not necessarily the most important. To me the the COACH has to be an excellent leader with absolutely brilliant man-management skills and no regionalism/nepotism/ego. A leader thus would always recognise when he needs help whether in the form of a batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, psychologist etc. He needn't have the answer to all your technical questions but will be able to guide you to where and how to solve your problem. He should have the freedom to consult a baseball coach for fielding skills, bring in a batting or bowling consultant whenever necessary. Try and appreciate how corporations work: the CEO [coach in your context] will not have the answer to every technical question, and it doesn't make him/her a bad CEO. To me the nepotism and egos of past Indian players is the biggest threat.

Posted by   on (January 23, 2013, 3:40 GMT)

I think Tom Moody would be a great coach for Indian Team. He has worked in the sub continent and is very nice man to have as a coach for a young team.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (January 23, 2013, 2:42 GMT)

Excellent article by Aakash Chopra. Great players generally make poor coaches. I don't think either Ganguly or Kumble will make a good coach. They have zero coaching experience. Dav Whatmore would be ideal coach for India. He has great coaching resume - he took then minnows Sri Lanka to World Cup glory in 1996. Bangladesh improved a lot under him. Pakistan team is doing very well under his coaching.

Posted by S_Pras on (January 23, 2013, 2:09 GMT)

Great article!!! I would have, as many have pointed out below, preferred if you had thrown a few potential candidates in the article.

I am surprised that everyone is willing to praise Kirsten & criticize Fletcher in the same breath. I realize that India achieved great heights under Kirsten, but going by our current results, it is clear that Kirsten never thought of long term solutions be it replacements for the aging middle order, ensure that youngsters achieve their potentials(think Rohit Sharma, Raina etc.,). So the current failures of the India team should be attributed in part to Kirsten's lack of vision as well. I think this India team needs someone who can instill the sense of pride and focus. Many current cricketers seem to value the money they get from IPL more than performing at the highest stage.

Posted by here2rock on (January 23, 2013, 0:51 GMT)

It is a pity that his tenure as an Indian coach does not end before the Australia V India Test series. He will coach this Indian team to a last washout of 4-0.

Posted by Smithie on (January 22, 2013, 23:51 GMT)

About time India used their own home grown talent to coach their teams. They poach internationals to play and coach in IPL (it would have extremely limited commercial value as a purely domestic tournament), don't contribute umpires to the ICC Elite panel and don't allow their cricketers to gain overseas experience other than play for India. A myopic view of cricket by the BCCI causes harm to the long term Indian interests. They need to go international on a number of issues but should b e coached by an Indian.

Posted by SarunSahadevan on (January 22, 2013, 22:03 GMT)

The next coach should either be Stephen Fleming or Andrew Strauss. They are tactically brilliant as well as captained their own country. The BCCI should also appoint someone like Collingwood or Rhodes to make the players realise that physical fitness is very important as talent to win matches.

Posted by Street_Hawk on (January 22, 2013, 21:17 GMT)

From what Aakash has written, I gather that India need a young coach with international experience (same as Jonty Rhodes being a fielding coach for SA)..So someone with significant international experience who played for either India, Aus, SA, SL, Eng or Pak and retired within 10 years (yes, 10 years because cricket is a very fast evolving game). Gary Kirsten fit this profile quite nicely, however, Fletcher is an old man from Zimbabwe with very little international experience, despite being associated with coaching big countries for a while. Problem with Fletcher was not that he could not coach well, problem is that he is afraid to do something drastic and happy to go with the wind (learning from Chappell's experience)...India need to aware of this mentality foreign coaches when they choose one..coach has to be proactive, young, impartial and with international experience and enough knowledge of basic coaching principles from India or outside..wonder if that can be done under Srini?

Posted by IndiaNumeroUno on (January 22, 2013, 21:00 GMT)

Nice article and so very true... however this line confused me "in which he played all the inswinging balls through the covers and the outswingers through midwicket"... is that right? or was it the other way round? I mean - inswinging balls through midwicket and outswinging balls through covers?

Posted by vik56in on (January 22, 2013, 19:08 GMT)

I don't think peiple who suggest Saurav Ganguly could the Indian coach have read Akash's article.What are Ganguly's previous coaching credentials.Nil?

Posted by maddy20 on (January 22, 2013, 18:53 GMT)

Fantastic stuff. Makes one onder what Fletcher was doing when our batsmen were getting out to poor strokes in Aus and Eng. We need to have a coach who can empathize with the players, put himself in their shoes, help fix their technical flaws and thinks proactively to respond to tough situations. For instance under Kirsten if the team had one bad session, you can bet dime to dollar that they will do much better in the next. Under Fletcher , it was painful to watch the team bat or bowl. They seemed helpless and resigned to defeat. Most of all we need a coach who is passionate about his job. We also need to have a separate spin bowling coach, to guide our current generation of spinners and I can't think of anyone better than Kumble.

Posted by ThatsJustCricket on (January 22, 2013, 18:12 GMT)

I am a big fan of Ganguli and Kumble. But like Akash mentioned, just because one was a great player doesn't automatically make him a great coach. I would definitely want to see him try coaching an IPL side or a domestic first class side first, learn the job, prove himself to be a good coach and then get the top job with the Indian team.

Posted by karan.121 on (January 22, 2013, 18:08 GMT)

Its a great article but i would have preferred some names from your side as well.....personally i think sourav Ganguly is the man to take indian cricket forward and to instill back the aggressive cricket that the team should play

Posted by Mr_Anonymous on (January 22, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

Good article. I agree that Duncan Fletcher's contract likely won't get renewed in March and that he maybe on his way out which is unfortunate. There are good candidates although the problem is to figure who really is interested in the job (details need to be worked out). I think we need to have arrangements for the right person to take scheduled breaks and ensure that they are available for all tours with higher ranked opponents and all overseas tours perhaps say till the next World Cup. Some names to consider (in my order of preference): Adam Gilchrist, Stephen Fleming, Steve Waugh, Mike Bevan, John Wright, Martin Crowe. I also recommend having an assistant Indian coach (e.g. Lalchand Rajput, Chandrakant Pandit, Praveen Amre) appointed who can handle the team for home series games against weaker opponents and giving the national coach a break to keep them refreshed.

Aakash please consider becoming a coach after you retire from domestic cricket. I think you would do very well.

Posted by anilkp on (January 22, 2013, 17:57 GMT)

Akash, I do not understand why you wrote this article. With two 0-4s, loss at home to the Poms, the Indian establishment has uttered no word on the coach, while the players, incliding the captain, have voiced their support for him. What makes you think, then, that Duncan might be on his way out? No doubt, that would be most logical thing to happen. But, has one single thing with BCCI/Indian cricket dealt with logic lately? None. So, your thoughts about finding a coach is like trying to see the non-existent. Besides, does it matter to BCCI that you (or, anyone else) has an opinion? Of four foreign coaches, they got the selection right 50%; why do you think they would go for an Indian coach to "salvage some pride"? Besides, you did not do justice to the title. I expected you would list a few names and detail their pros and cons. Overall, I was disappointed with this one, something that does not happen too often!

Posted by extralongleg on (January 22, 2013, 17:50 GMT)

ankurgarg_pec, makes a relevant point, wherein the coach's role, atleast the perceived role, has changed to being more of a shared role. The coach does not need to be involved in sorting out technical flaws when you can have the bowling/batting/fielding coach doing the same. Since we are not really sure about Fletcher's responsibilities, the view from the outside would be that the new appointment might need to deal more with selectorial issues and team tactics and sometimes being the captains enforcer as opposed to having technical skills. You only need to look at Peter Moores to realize someone with good technical skills might not necessarily make a good coach. Fletcher probably falls into the same category as well. Taciturn works if your team is doing well, not when its on a downward slope.

Posted by arvindrockz on (January 22, 2013, 17:37 GMT)

Great article, Aakash. Your articles are well thought of, as always. I think Kapil Dev would make an excellent coach for us. He has great man-management skills, very fit and someone who can push the team to perform with a must-win attitude. Being the first captain to lift the world cup, he will be inspirational to the team. Our young indian team needs inspiration to believe in themselves and then learn the techniques.

Posted by sportofpain on (January 22, 2013, 17:35 GMT)

Good article Akash - the focus should be on who the best person should be for the job. However I would like to add that Cricket is a specialized sport with different skills so instead of having just one coach, we should have a batting coach, a fast bowling coach, a spin bowling coach and a fielding coach. One of these could also be the head coach. So it is really a coaching staff and you get the best skilled people from across the world with the proviso that they are also comfortable working with each other.

Posted by chapathishot on (January 22, 2013, 17:27 GMT)

Two Indians to qualify for the job are Praveen Amre and Lal chand rajput .Sourav,Anil not good coaches based on their tempers.But the best could be Fleming

Posted by archere3 on (January 22, 2013, 17:25 GMT)

Foreign or Indian doestn't matter.At this stage it is man management. And also don't agree with example of professional training(SA vs Delhi). With that kind of training we won WC twice and made to other final which we lost. And also we have terrific fielders like kohli, Yuvi, Jadeja and others.

I think, Ganguly or Kumble will be good coaches with supporting staff of Venkatesh prasad, RobinSingh

Posted by csent on (January 22, 2013, 16:56 GMT)

Without any doubt, Sourav, Rahul and Anil are great cricketers. But before taking up the job, they have to prove themselves atleast in domestic or ipl. Stephen Fleming could be apt for this job.

Posted by vpk23 on (January 22, 2013, 16:49 GMT)

A Timely article. It would'nt be a bad idea to give the reigns to Robin Singh. Someway at the rigth age to get along with the players both the juinors & seniors as well as decent observer & at man managment.. Yes Akash is quite impressive as a columnist. Spot On Mate!

Posted by Dhanno on (January 22, 2013, 16:48 GMT)

Time and again Akash Chopra comes up with articles which are more apt for BCCI's file for "manual for good governance". These are good reads, I think top BCCI honchos should read them so they can "learn" more about their own job (like how to select a coach).

But as many here have pointed out, BCCI appoints a coach and then strangles him (Gary was exception, but he was building team with Dhoni). Fletcher has no power, no control over team or what constitutes coaching. The "captain" is unremovable, who backs his batsman to play "naturally", bowlers to "do their thing". I am sure Gary could have said no to it 4 years ago and pushed for specific plan but now no one can say word against Dhoni, lest the powers that rule BCCI would be offended. So for now BCCI has fellow who is earning his retirement money by being the team coach, the results wont matter as long as he or his successor are willing to tow the line. With that criteria, good luck getting a good coach.

Posted by Romenevans on (January 22, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

I think Sameer Dighe should be the coach, he was a legendary wicket keeper batsman India ever produced....and the bowling coach should be Hemang Badani because his 160 KPH out-swingers were out of this world.

Posted by ankurgarg_pec on (January 22, 2013, 16:09 GMT)

Akash while you do make a case for having foreign coaches... and lament the indian coaches for being archaic, it seems more of a case of being Indian infactuation with the west (just like with movies). One of the best bowling coaches (Venkatesh Prasad) that India had was booted out with India at its peek and no particular reason was given for the same. For me terming him as the best bowling coach just check the number of no balls the indian bowlers bowled in his tenure. While yes the coaches in the west might be more upgraded, cricket in India has become much more professional than in 90s and an Indian Coach should be given a chance to showcase his talent.

Posted by KannanAkil on (January 22, 2013, 16:06 GMT)

India is a group of good and top player so India need a good coach who can control and motivate all players in team.I think Ganguly should come as a main coach. And Dravid as batting coach.

Posted by ProdigyA on (January 22, 2013, 15:57 GMT)

Kirsten might have told Fletcher not to get too smart by teaching the "big boys" of the Indian team anything. They are all way too experienced and good enough to handle situations moreover they are very powerful so just try to be in the good books of these big boys and keep working on the younger lads. - So Fletcher never had the courage to take any tough calls on team even if he wanted to. There is no point in having a foreign coach who cannot take any tough unbaised calls.

Posted by Temuzin on (January 22, 2013, 15:38 GMT)

lalchand rajput as a stop gap arrangement was doing good before Kirsten tool over. He should be the one to rope in. Gangully should not be made coach. He was too much involved in regional politics with Dalmia and his coaching will make matters worse for the team. Any body who has bias for his region or city ( gavaskar, Shastri etc..)should be kept away from such a responsible job.

Posted by vsreddy4u on (January 22, 2013, 15:02 GMT)

I think sourav ganguly could be the best choice to coach india at present.He will take india to the no.1 position again with MS as captain.He is having all the qualities required.

Posted by VickGower on (January 22, 2013, 14:36 GMT)

"Nearly two years ago, when Duncan Fletcher replaced Gary Kirsten as the coach of the Indian team, he must have thought that a success similar to Kirsten's"

You think so? Fletcher would have to be stone cold dumb to think that a team consisting of 37-40 year olds is set for a reign on the mountain top. Even during Kristen's era people like Ponting, upon being questioned about Australia's shaky transition, had expressed interest in India's soon to follow rebuilding. Every one knew it. Was an 8-0 run expected? No. For that Fletcher needs to answer. But this:

"Wasn't it supposed to be one of the easier assignments? India were No. 1 in Tests and World Cup winners. All Fletcher had to do was consolidate. "

What in the world?!! Really?! NO ONE I knew thought this. I know of no one in my circle who didn't know that Dravid/Laxman/Sachin were approaching their Use By date, and the dark days of transition were upon us. Fletcher is guilty of poor performance, but not as much stupidity.

Posted by here2rock on (January 22, 2013, 14:00 GMT)

I see a lot of people wanting someone like Gary Kirsten as the next coach. That will be difficult to find who gives 200% to the job. Mike Hussey will get my vote one of the reason he quit International cricket was that he wanted to spend more time with his family but India plays non stop so he is not going to coach anytime soon for any International side. India could learn the work ethics from Hussey without a doubt.

Posted by Batmanindallas on (January 22, 2013, 13:35 GMT)

Akash Playing cricket also does not give one an ability to write about the game, you are an exception to that rule. I love the way you write which helps even a layman understand the issue. Have you ever thought of coaching or getting into administration? take care

Posted by hakapuu on (January 22, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

Another great article by Akash Chopra. I am surprised no one has thrown Saurav gangulys name into the mix. Unless he is not willing to do take up the coaching job he would be a mentor/problem fixer/leader for this indian team. He has shown enough during his captaincy days to help this team during transition.

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

I thing Fletcher is simply good enough to coach India even England sidelined him and sacked him. I just cannot believed how BCCI choose old coach like Fletcher.I hope soon they will find young and experience i get the feeling we missed out Dav whatmore who coached our A team he is now with Pakistan one can see the results of Pakistan. They outplayed India in all departments in one day series. I don't thing Indian coaches will be good. Ravi Shastri is good option but other than that no one else we will wait and watch for the New coach to change the fortunes of Indian team especially in this transitition period

Posted by Kunal-Talgeri on (January 22, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

"The difference between learning and teaching is the difference between a player and a good coach." Wonderful line, Aakash, and so true. Your column is insightful. I'd say Kirsten, as coach, was dangerously successfully. He identified the Indian culture's 'here-today-now' definition of success -- and combined with Dhoni/Kumble to forge victories in the short term -- mostly at home. But Indian cricketers' fitness levels and performance in England and Australia is as much his legacy as Fletcher's. There was no work for the long haul. Maybe, Kirsten did need to be a taskmaster with Yuvraj, Tendulkar, Sehwag, Zaheer, and the young fast bowlers (Sreesanth, RP Singh). Even when we won the World Cup, Tendulkar and Yuvraj were not fit. So I am averse to citing Kirsten as a success. John Wright did better in making a team for all seasons and conditions.

Posted by gharat_swap12 on (January 22, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

A good candidate will be Mike Hussy,fresh from retirement and plays well anywhere in anyformat.. Has good understanding with MSD in CSK team. and is someone like kirsten who has never give up attitude...

Posted by cosmoboy on (January 22, 2013, 12:38 GMT)

How about Lance Klusener / Bevan ? I personally feel that they can do a better job than Fletcher. Apart from these guys we can have Dravid as Batting Coach & Wasim Akram as Bowling coach.

Posted by here2rock on (January 22, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

Flectcher has taken Indian cricket back 10 years. When Duncan Fletcher was hired, he was already behind his used by date. It is going to be a huge catch up game for India. BCCI need to be more prudent with their selection method and terms of appointment. The next appointment should be on trial basis of 6 months and then extended depending on the results. India also need a bowling coach, someone like Bruce Reid or Craig McDermott.

Posted by Darshi007 on (January 22, 2013, 12:07 GMT)

Good Article.I believe Dav Whatmore might have been a perfect candidate for the coach of the Indian team in their current situation.He has experience of working with underdog teams and teams in transition and making them achieve considerable amount of success like he did initially with Sri Lanka and then with Bangladesh.Even with the current Pakistan team,Misbah has admitted that there has been a lot of confidence and positive energy within the team once Dav was at helm and it is showing in their recent performances.But BCCI did not recruit him few years back and now he is out of radar.I don't see any promising Indian candidates in the reckoning apart from Sourav Ganguly may be but appointing Dada will again have it's own set of risks may be causing more ego clashes.If separate coaches for bowling and batting could be undertaken then I guess DD team mentor T.A Sekar would be the best candidate for bowling coach and may be Rahul Dravid could be offered the role of a batting consultant.

Posted by KanAloshFozter on (January 22, 2013, 11:58 GMT)

Well,I think it's worthwhile to have separate coaches. Dravid should be the batting coach. He, in his days, was a hardworking batsman rather than a very gifted batsman and so can understand and rectify the mediocre indian batsmen's technical flaws. He has traveled around the world and knows all playing conditions and will pass that knowledge to the younger the generation. He can also coach indian fieldes how to field at slips. Wasim Akram should be the bowling coach because he's great at spotting talents. The latest example is Mohd Irfan.He's in the ipl and so know most indian pacers. Bedi and Chandra could heel the ailing young spinners in india. Dada should became

Posted by v.saleem on (January 22, 2013, 11:49 GMT)

The most ideal coach for indian Team now if we are looking at at a Desi coach will be Lal chand Rajput who has the experience of making india the world 20/20 champions.He being a prolific opening batman in his yesteryears can help out the technical deficiency of upcoming batsman of indian team plus it seems he is a good motivator Lets give him a one year period.Plus as bowling coach we can get in Craig mcdermott of australia.He was outstanding as a bowling coach aussies team when india toured down under last time in 2011-12.

Posted by vomhorizon on (January 22, 2013, 11:48 GMT)

I think the problem is that their is a lack of consensus among those in power with regards to the "role of a coach". BCCI seems to be very casual with regards to this as they wish to have a coach that has absolutely no Power & authority (with which comes respect and control) but has to take t he blame for just about everything that goes wrong on or off the field. If the BCCI does not clearly define the ROLE of a coach and then give him the power and "say" in accordance with that role then i feel that they might as well scrap the coaching assignment in favor of a team manager. If they keep on persisting with the way they are going then i do not see the indian coaching post to be attractive to a vast majority of non-indians as it is a Lose-Lose situation and thankless job.

An Indian coach that acts as an extension of the selection committee coupled with an array of coaches from the NCA that includes the best of the coaching talent from around the world might be better

Posted by kharkov on (January 22, 2013, 11:29 GMT)

what about dada..i seriously thinks he will do wonders? AGREE?

Posted by spinkingKK on (January 22, 2013, 11:25 GMT)

I think at the current state of the Indian team, we need a coach who is good in building a good young team. Dave Whatmore comes to my mind straight away. I think he is very good in identifying the strength of young players and giving them proper opportunities to make them an asset of the team.

Posted by darstar on (January 22, 2013, 11:21 GMT)

A bit of irony if Justin langer is to be India Coach. Things he shares with Gary Kirsten - Both Left Handed; Both Openers; Both from Southern hemisphere; Test both made their debut in 1993; Played over 100 Tests; both have the same test average - 45.27; Both have had nightmares against Shoib Akthar(who hasnt?); Both born in November 21st and 23rd; would be Langers first Internation stint as was Gary's; I would expect him to be Australia Coach after the India Job!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by QingdaoXI on (January 22, 2013, 11:21 GMT)

Dont spend all money to hire a high profile coach instead have a different coaches for different sets of games. eg. Manager, Mentor, Coach, Batting coach, Fast bowling coach, Spin bowling Coach, Fielding Coach and Assitant fielding coach.

Posted by darstar on (January 22, 2013, 10:47 GMT)

Appoint a foreign coach who can be deputised by an Indian. I would like to see the foreign coach as someone who is taking this up(International) for the first time rather than an experienced candidate. In that way, expectations are balanced and the new comer will bring innovation, drive and ambition. The players are more likely to build a good rapport there by developing a sense of trust which leads to an uncomplicated approach to solving technical imperfections. Candidate for me - 1. Justin Langer - enough experience as player and coach. If WA can release him. 2. Deputy - I have no idea which Indian can fit in to this role!!!! Perhaps Sourav, Dravid, Kumble - all too busy with media commitments. Sure they have a lot more to give back to Indian Cricket.

Posted by itisme on (January 22, 2013, 10:16 GMT)

Good analysis. But if we say that we will have an Indian coach from the outset, then that will be wrong. We must look for a good coach who can deliver, his nationality must not be an issue. Why, I would even welcome a Pakistani as Indian coach if he can deliver.

The second point is, the coach must be given some authority in the team selection, otherwise, a coach is as good as his team. Presently our esteemed captain has all the authority and poor chap Fletcher has no say.

If at all we are going to have an Indian coach, then it should be Dada Ganguly, the prince. He is a kind of person who will cut MSD to his size. Remember, the Indian resurgence and fighting qualities came when Dada was the captain.

Posted by Sultan2007 on (January 22, 2013, 9:58 GMT)

What a thoughtful piece of writing. My compliments, Aakash. I am not sure if there is clarity in cricket whther the team needa a coach or a manager. I suspect there is a belief that it is still somewhere in between. As a result, in the past, the manager's role has often been viewed as a reward for past service to the nation , entitling ex players to overseas junkets. The palyers pretty much took care of themselves in the game. Is there no concenpt of coaching badges, as in soccer? if there is, all past players, and I dont care how great they were, MUST earn them prior to being eligible to manage the national team..after of course having succeeded with firast class teams

Posted by phaktaa_tikit on (January 22, 2013, 9:52 GMT)

Very well written & I largely agree with this article. I personally believe India were never the true No.1 They were on clay courts but when it came to grass courts they are on a continous journey of failing, continuing to fail and then a tiny bit of learning. Problem for foreign coaches is that they expect more physical effort which our players except few youngsters dislike. Same happened with Chapel. We are poor runners and we dont want to change that. If someone has suggestion for improving technique, our egos get hurt. Imagine, if sehwag with a better foot movement & temperament.

Wheover becomes the coach, focus should be on player fitness, technique.. Personally, I see Akash has a lot of ideas and can be seen as a potential new hire.

Posted by ganeshram78 on (January 22, 2013, 9:49 GMT)

akash, disappointing to see that you are not willing to take names here... this is a very harsha bhogle kind of article!

Posted by Ford_imperfect on (January 22, 2013, 9:33 GMT)

I feel one point that an Indian as a coach has to offer is the ability to understand cultural differences in an indian setup. The ability to communicate in a way our boys can understand is also a big +ve. We have bowing experts, batting experts and fielding and fitness experts in the team. The job of a coach is mostly pick up small adjustments as aakash suggests as anyone who can play for India is good. The coach should just make him better.

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 8:59 GMT)

Akash seems to miss some points or deliberately ignore them. A coach needs some authority and a say in important matters such as selection etc. for him to succeed . Fletcher could be held accountable only if we know how much authority he was invested with. The poor chap is not even allowed to talk to the press. Then there is the BCCI President who is willing to overrule even the 5 selectors. In such a scenario, how effective a poor coach can be when the Captain alone rules the roost?The Indian coaches Akash talks about all belong to the older generation - the Madanlas and Kapil Devs etc.He is being unfair to the current crop like Lalu Rajput etc. People conveniently forget that the only T20 World Cup won by India was under Rajput. There are many NCA qualified Indian coaches who can do a good job. The only issue is - how much authority will you give them? Indian superstars dont like to be told, the pretty much do their own thing.

Posted by IndianInnerEdge on (January 22, 2013, 8:54 GMT)

Intereting topic - Akash, hiring indian or overseas coach wont make much of a difference othen than india winning the odd overseas test every third series. India enjoyed sucess in all formats till wc 2011 to th fact that it had an outstanding batting line up which tapered over an above average/average bowling lineup and a forever pathetic fielding unit. Since the batting has failed, it is now that these shortcomings are revealed. To be dominant, as sanjay Manjrekar has said, we have to focus on being a bowling oriented nation, the conditions of the pathetic pitches -(again a centuries old sickeness associated with indian cricket!) has to be more sporting-supporting spinners and mainly pacers-will also benefit upcoming slip fielders. If we start now, improve the pitches-in 10 years time-indian cricket will be healthy, at this point in time-we are pathetic and would struggle to beat zim and banglas in tests....hope am proven wrong :)

Posted by welcome_views on (January 22, 2013, 8:49 GMT)

If an indian coach then no doubt ...it should be Sourav Ganguly with his sheer cricketing brains..he is ideal in this transition period as he himself captained team India when it was in transition period then too...he can handle the young talent very well and he will be good motivator...also on foreign coach we should look for another thorough professional and workaholic cricketer ..Adam Gilchrist..he has done very good job in handling and captaining young talented players in IPL. he is also very good at man management...

Posted by AdityaRavindran on (January 22, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

The reason we need an Indian head coach is because it is very important for the coach to understand Indian culture and how the cricketers need to be treated. An Indian coach will also have a good knowledge about conditions in India, the domestic circuit etc. We could have specialist foreign fielding / bowling coaches who work under the head Indian coach. I will go for Kapil Dev for the head coach and someone like Jonty/Robin Singh for fielding coach (or) probably retain all the other support staff who work under Fletcher now.

Posted by vish57 on (January 22, 2013, 8:38 GMT)

Very good article; any indian coach will have regionl bias, be it is srikanth or kumble or Ganguly or Gavaskar; better to have a foreign coach; Stephen Fleming is a ggod candidate, though not a possible solution Wasim Akram too is a good candidate on coaching merits , ofcourse his nationality will not be accepted by we Indians; also BCCi can consider Arjuna Ranatunge a shrewd captain of SL and a great cricket brain. Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh should be the bowling and fielding coach, may be Ganguly a batting coach under Stephen Fleming. Best indian for the chief coach role is Kumble.

Posted by sony_sr on (January 22, 2013, 8:37 GMT)

No Indian coaches please. None of them have any idea about latest training methodologies. The last thing we want at this stage is to go back to old ways of "before john wright" era. We just need to shortlist all IPL team coaches and find the best one from them. Even giving john wright a second stint is not a bad idea.

Posted by ramli on (January 22, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

India has long realized that Indian players with rich international cricket are not necessarily good coaches ... This article should have suggested a few names as prospective coaches and listed out the reasons ... may be AC shied away from this to play it safe ...

Posted by kuku_cricket_fanatic on (January 22, 2013, 8:17 GMT)

I will like to see Aakash taking up coaching role sometime soon, certainly batting coach. Current Indian batsmen ( specially after Dravid and VVS's departure ) need to learn how to develop temperament for playing Test cricket. Perhaps, they have the talent but no skills to survive in bowler friendly conditions.

Posted by ganirules on (January 22, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

Mark my words our next coach wont be a foreigner, Glenn Mcgrath as bowling coach, Dravid as bowling coach and Lalchand Rajput as head coach

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 7:52 GMT)

I do not know who Fletcher's successor would be. However, India might try a new formula- i.e. a batting coach- someone like Gavaskar or even Dravid and a bowling coach- why not Waqar for the job. What is the need for a overall coach. If we have specific coaches, the team then can have a Manager who will be more involved- someone who can motivate and was tough in his playing days- like say Saurav or Ravi Shashtri and have wonderful tactical acumen for the game!

Posted by realfan on (January 22, 2013, 7:51 GMT)

@Tal_Botvinnik dont knw which country you r from .... you are talking as if you have seen these players in the nets with not cooperating to the coach....... just jealousy cant help you mate..... we all knw how dedicated these players you mentioned are.... praveen kumar bowled his heart out in last tour to england and Kohli is the person who values his wicket more and for that he will co operate with coach..... further more he is in no need of coach at this moment of his life... he is one of the finest ODI batsmen with all the batting material in his book......

Posted by Finland_Cricket_Fan on (January 22, 2013, 7:50 GMT)

Give Indian former players a chance to coach the domestic teams first .They can find good talents and also advice selectors about new talents irrespective of the players records in the domestic level. They can groom players for the future as well with good success rate if they are really good in coaching.

Then select the best coach from their performances. Just like the entry to international cricket as a player , they have to prove coaching skills first in the domestic level.

Posted by SherjilIslam on (January 22, 2013, 7:47 GMT)

I will root for Saurav Dada Ganguly. Because of the following simple reasons, 1. Highly Motivational. 2. Commands good respect from senior and Juniors. 3. Aggressive 4. Knows the mindset of Indian players/media and fans. 5. Excellent planning and man management abilities. The only negative point about him is....(as mentioned by many and Akash Chopra) he can be biased about regional players.But this can be negated by taking the selection rights away from the coach, he can only give feed backs about players but not directly influence a selection. Also with him a good fielding or bowling coach is required because he himself was a very poor fielder. So for me, Ganguly+Wasim Akram/Jonty Rhodes, can be an excellent combination.

Posted by Girish.Sahani on (January 22, 2013, 7:33 GMT)

Great Article Aakash!! One of the best things about your articles and books are that they are so easy-to-read!!

Posted by harsha_chu on (January 22, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

John Wright would be perfect ! But we badly need a bowling coach who is experienced, probably an Aussie who is also in IPL. Also BCCI needs to rope in Bedi and Prasanna to mentor the young spin bowlers. It is frightening that we do not have any spin bowler in the top 3 (Ajmal, Swann, Vettori)

Posted by Tal_Botvinnik on (January 22, 2013, 7:04 GMT)

Its not the problem of the coach its the arrogance of the players they don't cooperate with the coach at all example: Kohli,Praveen ...

Posted by Prats6 on (January 22, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

My problem with Indian coaches are their work ethic & they are generally biased. The local language issue as highlighted by Akash is correct as well. We need to find a good coach and a good bowling coach. I cant see anyone past Wasim as the bowling coach. India should hire him without batting an eyelid. Also, have coaches at the junior levels. But most of all, we need BCCI to think about the game in India and not just about IPL.

Posted by satish619chandar on (January 22, 2013, 6:14 GMT)

I would like the board to go back to Lalchand Rajput. He was a very good coach and he allowed the team to prosper without any conflict. In his period, everything was fine and it was the time when Dhoni became the captain and the "midas touch" was in full flow. He did maintain the unity i the team after the "Greg black era"

Posted by PointFielder on (January 22, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

I would like to see Lalchand Rajput if they go for Indian coach. Trevor Bayliss if they opt for a foreign coach.

Posted by Jacobchikku on (January 22, 2013, 5:56 GMT)

Mohinder Amarnath came close to Coaching India couple of times but lost out to foreign coaches, Ganguly can be a good mentor and be great at man management but has he got any experience in coaching any of the State or A teams? People who knows Indian conditions and players mindset will be good choice and Steave Waugh will be one of the front runners in this case, Robin Singh can be one of the best if we really want to try out an Indian coach. Since the next world cup is in Australia we should get someone with experience in Aus conditions and has been part of World cup winning sides. It would be great to see if Wasim Akram can be made bowling coach, Anil Kumble the Spin bowling coach, Ganguly the mentor and Steave Waugh/ John Wright the coach. But who knows its BCCI decision and they will always come up with surprising decisions!!

Posted by binu.emiliya on (January 22, 2013, 5:47 GMT)

Ithink Stephen Fleming of NZ will be a very good option.If we need an Indian coach i wll go for Praveen Amre & Kapil Dev both,Kapil as Chief Coach

Posted by Ayush_Chauhan on (January 22, 2013, 5:38 GMT)

@yoogi nice idea...that's really is a neat one. But I don't know how much state teams are ready to spend for foreign coaches, and which team would actually get them. But I really like this concept, should be floated around more.

Posted by vishalkcricfan on (January 22, 2013, 5:36 GMT)

Very Good article by Akash Chopra.Seems to me that he is referring to the recent talk in media circles of how Saurav Ganguly can be a very good option becauseof his man management Skills.I have realy no doubts about the ability of Saurav Ganguly at all but he has a tendency to promote regional players. I have seen him mentioning how great a bowler Ashok Dinda is , realy !! he is at best average. Not international class by any streach of imagination. Thats what I worry about saurav. Anil Kumble will be a very good option if they are looking for an Indian. He is calm, disciplined, no nonsense . I haven't seen him doing any favouritism.Lastly, why do we have to wait till the contract gets over...Sack Duncan Fletcher right away...please.

Posted by analyseabhishek on (January 22, 2013, 5:32 GMT)

As usual, a very well written article from AC! Coming back to Fletcher, he surely had an unenviable task- presiding over a team with over-the-hill superstars whose egos were further inflated by the 2011 WC triumph and a stint as the top test team in the world. Dare I say, it was Greg Chappell's approach that was needed in this period. However, Chappell and his methods were so discredited and even demonized that it was a tough ask for anyone to come even remotely close to implementing something similar.

Gary Kirsten had come in at the best possible time. Senior players were hurting after the Chappell era and wanted to prove a point or two. Post Kirsten and WC triumph, they did not have any point to prove, except chasing personal glory. This is why team India crash landed so spectacularly.

Posted by pull_shot on (January 22, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

Appoint ganguly as head coach and dravid as batting consult (at-least for overseas tour) and bowling consult should be either akram or chaminda vas (he is absolutely great player and hard worker) and please no one from india expect tark sinha present coach of jarkand who dedicated life to cricket or go for gilchrist(may not accept) or simon katich

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 5:00 GMT)

The best choice for coach is:

Stephen Fleming - Head Coach Shaun Pollock - Bowling Coach

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (January 22, 2013, 4:55 GMT)

A very timely article indeed. The reasons the BCCI opted for a foreign coach many years ago was because of the belief --- not wrongly perhaps --- that Indians would be given to regional and other prejudices. That apart, it was expected that the pattern of coaching a cricket team had evolved abroad but not so in India necessitating selection of a foreign coach.The Jonty illustration given by Akash will bring home this point. Since we have had good foreign coaches for some time now it may be worth the while to think of someone like Shastri,Dravid or Kumble for this role as much for their cricket knowledge and seriousness as for their integrity by which they may not have too many prejudices. Ideally I would like Rahul Dravid to take this job because of his honesty and technical proficiency. I remember Rahul did not do well against Australia the first time he went there. But he was a revelation the next time he went there. That was because he thought about his game and came up with answer.

Posted by realfan on (January 22, 2013, 4:46 GMT)

@siddharth_r2001 agree with you.... wasim akram is took good guy and honest guy.... i think he is perfect for indian bowling coach.... the fact the he coaches IPL team kolkotta he will be knowing mentality of indian players, and most important he is too honest for his game of cricket.... i would like to see him as indian bowling coach.....

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 4:46 GMT)

One of the most thoughtful articles, I have come across. The reasons behind having an Indian coach and its associated problems have been very well explained. Currently the team needs a coach whom they can associate more and can go any time any day with their issues. Gary & John were prime examples. Unfortunately Duncan doesn't seem to be that kind of guy or probably the players do not feel themselves at home totally while approaching him. A person who has retired from the game not very very long ago (say 3-8 years) but who also would have a certain grip on the players could be a good choice.

Posted by realfan on (January 22, 2013, 4:42 GMT)

anyone who will be coaching india needs to go through lot of stress , not only physically ,its mental stress that one need to go through... like dropping senior players, biased selection panel, politics, egoness of players, IPL, many like these.... and theoretical coaches like Flecther, chappel will not be able good to handle these stress... some practical coaches like John wright, Garry, robin sing , venkatesh prasad will be better... india certainly cant go with their home coaches, because almost every one will favour for their local player when the team building matters.....someone like dravid is good for coaching , but he is too honest and too kind to be and INDIAN caoch..... we can get stefen fleming, jonty rodes, venkatesh prasad/kumble for caching for Batting, fielding, bowling coaches respectively....... my honest opinion...

Posted by pvwadekar on (January 22, 2013, 4:40 GMT)

We can have the best coach (indian or foreign) but still won't solve the issue. Problem is with the the players and the administration. Players are are not interested in rectifying their faults(Gambhir, Bhajji), not interested in working on their fitness(Sehwag, Ashwin,Zaheer), or more interested in T20(Dhoni and Raina).

Meanwhile administrators are more interested in maxizing the profits, without improving the domestic and first class facilities. They are not interested in doing anything that will really help the actual cricket growth such as better pitches, Indian A tours to south Africa, England and Australia. No reviews of the 8 loss series in away tours.

Posted by raghavan88 on (January 22, 2013, 4:39 GMT)

Good Article Aakash,Regarding a coach,in my opinion India need someone who can follow the "WRIGHT" manual.An Indian coach is a strict NO due to internal politics and bias,except a few candidates.

Posted by vatsap on (January 22, 2013, 4:37 GMT)

Spot on as usual. There are two issues, one is skill, second is are our million dollar babies willing to listen to the coach. I dont think there is any qualified Indian coach, although well meaning they will be out of touch with reality. Flemming will be a great choice if he agrees. On the Indian side, Robin Singh is an option.

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 on (January 22, 2013, 4:36 GMT)

Brilliant Aakash..Nice Artice..i particularly liked the Brian Lara Stuff where the master played all strokes with ease only to the amusement of the young Kid..application, zero!...this is kind of MBA stuff..where in this is a case study for BCCI..very well written..it would have been awesome, if only some names are suggested!

Posted by Humdingers on (January 22, 2013, 4:36 GMT)

It's embarrassing that the BCCI with all it's financial clout can't put the right structures in place. India should have the latest technology, training, recuperation and support structures in place. But then again this is India and one look at how corporations and politics are run, it's not surprising. Can't see India becoming no.1 in Tests again. They will continue to do well in ODI's (may even win another world cup) and may improve in T-20's.

Posted by nyc_missile on (January 22, 2013, 4:29 GMT)

Spot on! This team not just needs aggressive coach,but also one who can identify & rectify technical issues.May be an Upton sort of guy will be ideal to complement the chief coach on psychological issues.Especially with Sachin & Sehwag at almost at fag end of their careers & Gambhir the other relatively senior batsman is struggling.We're left with Dhoni who isn't a 'technician' either in tests.So basically the core of Ind batting will be Rahane,Pujara,Kohli,Rohit & Tiwary more or less.So these guys need not just some direction and guidance but mentoring too.

Hence I agree with Aakash,merely being Indian wont do,he needs to have all the right professional skills .Now,Ganguly is being talked about.He's fantastic in terms of passion,aggression etc but one might say wasn't a classical technical batsman in Dravid mode which would suit these budding players more.So its a tricky choice but would still go for someone like Martin Crowe.He has both technical&strategic acumen.

Posted by yoogi on (January 22, 2013, 4:25 GMT)

There must be plenty of coaches in county, Australian states and SA provinces right? may be we should try some of them (two from each country?) for our ranji teams, atleast for two-three training camps, with indian Assistant coaches. Then out of those foreign coaches one or two can get national coaching job. If we rotate this policy every two years, we will certainly improve quality in all areas, including first class.

Posted by siddharth_r2001 on (January 22, 2013, 4:13 GMT)

If the coach HAS to be an Indian, I think Ravi Shastri is probably the best option. For the short stint where he was the coach of the team after the 2007 World Cup debacle, for the tour of Bangladesh, the Indian players appeared to be at their most 'natural' than they have ever been. Shastri seems to be a no-nonsense kind of guy with a very good cricketing brain. Also, that will keep him out of the commentary box! The BCCI can surely afford to pay him what he makes from commentary, and more.

If the coach is to be a non-Indian, and if you keep politics out of it, I believe Wasim Akram would be a very good coach, assuming he is willing to take up a full time assignment such as this.

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 4:10 GMT)

I think its time we again recruited somebody like Greg Chappel who can take control of the team and garner in Dhoni's support. Unlike back in 2005-07 there aren't many senior players around to mess with and the time is ideal for a tactician who can command and direct the new players in proper directions, be it telling them to skip a match or 2 for the IPL or forcing them to have a stint in county championships abroad. Also the new coach needs to device a strategy where special emphasis is given to fast bowlers and batsmen with their techniques and fitness especially since the next world cup would be held in pace friendly conditions. People like the Rainas and the Gambhirs who are suspect to short ball should have enough support from the new fellow in ironing out their flaws. But most importantly, he should be able to crop up the next captain in line from the present squad as that would be of utmost importance in the next 2 years to come.

Posted by Rahulbose on (January 22, 2013, 4:07 GMT)

A well thought out article, but surely Aakash knows the inner workings of the BCCI selection process. Nobody expects such detailed analysis when BCCI chooses a coach. Like all appointments in BCCI, the coach is selected based on personal relation with the panel and BCCI big wigs (and possibly IPL owners these days). Qualifications are relevant only with respect to how the Indian public/media will receive the high profile appointment, so a former legend is more likely to get the job.

Posted by 123cric on (January 22, 2013, 4:01 GMT)

In the age of professional sports its time individuals with professional training and experience takes up the coaching jobs.John Buchanan is an example who never played cricket at the highest level but was a successful coach. Even in professional footballs guys like Sir Alex Ferguson are highly successful because of better man management skills.

Posted by IndCricFan2013 on (January 22, 2013, 3:59 GMT)

Well said, an Indian coach could potentially drag things down further for India. Also, I think a Batting, Bowling and Fielding coaches are in order, so it is possible to get different skills out of different people. Why offer all the money to one big coach, any ways it is the captain who is going to decide how things are done on the fields.

Posted by US_Indian on (January 22, 2013, 3:48 GMT)

Nice one Aakash- but the indian players who took to coaching were mostly not good enough players to sustain for long and if you really analyse their own body of work during playing days it would reveal how they got into the indian team in the first place and when they got that opportunity what they did to build upon that to enhance their reputations as a player unfortunately you will draw a blank. I am not naming them here who are ruling the roost just by luck or whatever who neither had a chequered career nor did they possess any professional credentials nor they worked on and got themselves educated in the nuances of modern day coaching skills, man management, fitness, strategically moulding players. It is not just playing experience at the highest level but exposure of playing in different countries and under circumstances and the level of passion and being honest about how they their every dollar is earned and how they can give back. If one player fits this bill that is Abid Ali.

Posted by Raj4mCanada on (January 22, 2013, 3:44 GMT)

Hopefully somebody who stays out of politics and concentrates on his duty as a coach will be good. For the next 2-3 years, there will be players like Kohli,Raina becoming seniors and the new coach should be maintaining positive relation all through the way. I am not against to Ganguly but being seen him in Cricket politics for a long time please a big NO to Ganguly. I believe Anil Kumble can be good enough to certain extent. Somehow I am sensing that Gilchrist can fit into Gary Kirsten's shoes well as the India's Coach. Micheal Bevan, Marvan Atapattu, Paul Collingwood, Craig McMillan, Robin Singh or possibly Steve Waugh.

Posted by sweetspot on (January 22, 2013, 3:42 GMT)

ANY coach will only resurrect the Indian team, after such lows as they have suffered of late. But simple question to ask - for all the sophisticated fielding drills SA put up, and for them chuckling at India's methods, what has SA achieved that India hasn't? Gary Kirsten wasn't lucky - he knew what he was getting and what he could get from the Indian team. He really did his job, but it is not the "same" job he is doing with SA now. He knew the difference. Cricket is cricket, but the students could be slightly different from school to school. It could simply be time to try an Indian coach. Rightly said that a great player may not be able to pass on skills, but someone like Kapil might infuse great attitudes. I can't think of attitude NOT being important to this bunch.

Posted by nthuq on (January 22, 2013, 3:38 GMT)

Aakash Chopra for coach of India!

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Aakash ChopraClose
Aakash Chopra Aakash Chopra is the 245th Indian to represent India in Test cricket. A batsman in the traditional mould, he played 10 Tests for India in 2003-04, and has played over 120 first-class matches. He currently plays for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy; his book Beyond the Blues was an account of the 2007-08 season. Chopra made a formidable opening combination with Virender Sehwag, which was believed to be one of the reasons for India's success in Australia and Pakistan in 2003-04. He is considered one of the best close-in fielders India has produced after Eknath Solkar.

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