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Isn't it time for an Indian to take over as Team India's Coach?


E R Ramachandran,Cricketnext
May 12, 2014 at 10:33pm IST

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India have won the ODI World Cup twice, the Inaugural T20 World Cup, became No. 1 in ICC Test rankings and won the last Champions Trophy. Quite an impressive record compared to most of other ICC teams.

Indian players have fared well in recent years with Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble to name only a few. Leading that pack are Tendulkar's exploits in his career more than Don Bradman's, according to even some Australian writers and players.

ALSO SEE Dravid best man to coach Team India: Sunil Gavaskar

Over the years, India has done very well in various aspects of the game; take for instance in the conduct of its logistics. Time was when our grounds were basically mud tracks and the bumpy outfield - a fielder's nightmare. The pavilions were sorry state of affairs and even the sight screens didn't make a pretty sight. Spectators sat on hastily erected wooden stand under a relentless beating hot sun.

Isn't it time for an Indian to take over as Team India's Coach?

Pravin Amre, Robin Singh and Sanjay Bangar have had fair degree of success as coaches and should be groomed for India job.

But things have dramatically changed over the last few years with India able to host day-night ODI matches in most of its grounds at any time of the year.

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IPL brought in its wake dizzying dollars to top players around the world who make their annual visit to the subcontinent for a month and half of exhilarating and frenzied Twenty20 cricket. The matches played in peak summer draw huge crowds - an index of love and admiration of an average fan for the game. Players like David Warner and Steve Smith have made it to their Test teams after tremendous run of success in the IPL.

India has also hosted major ICC tournaments at various locations across the country with facilities matching those prevailing in other countries.

The reason for the above long introduction and highlighting the 'Indian-ness' so far is, with all this, that despite such improvement no Indian has made it to the top as a coach. There have been even Indian umpires in the ICC panel with former captain S. Venkataraghavan being the most famous player-turned umpire donning the umpire's dress for nearly a decade after hanging his flannels.

When India has virtually rewritten cricket hegemony, which is now firmly anchored in Indian shores, why BCCI has not gone for promoting locally proven talent is hard to understand.

It is time to correct this.

India have won the Under-19 titles twice in the last six years under Pravin Amre. Being a first class player himself and a debutant centurion against South Africa, Amre worked tirelessly behind the scenes and moulded young cricketers to their World Cup triumph. He has been re-appointed as Mumbai Ranji Trophy coach recently. He was also an assistant coach for the now-defunct IPL franchise Pune Warriors India last year.

Robin Singh is one of the best allrounders and is currently coaching Mumbai Indians in the IPL. Robin temperament is an asset to any team and recently Dwayne Smith, who is scoring heavily for Chennai Super Kings, acknowledged his astonishing run of success to Robin Singh's coaching when he was with Mumbai Indians last year. Smith acknowledges Robin brought the much needed calmness to his cricket and the need to stay focused at the wicket for the team's cause. Known for his brilliant fielding apart from his bowling and batting that saved India quite a few times, Robin's brilliant running between the wickets was a strong feature of his cricketing abilities.

Sanjay Bangar is another player who is doing wonders to the confidence of Kings XI Punjab in IPL 7. He is again an allrounder like Robin Singh. Management of the inflated egos of international players in an IPL franchise is akin to withstanding nonstop boiler-room pressure situation for a couple of months and the coach is more like a general with a moving army facing an ambush every third day. Bangar has very well managed a bunch of international cricketers into a winning combination in IPL 7.

TA Shekar is another coach who worked under Dennis Lillee at the MRF Pace Foundation since its inception and honed his skills. His experience would be vital for our fast bowlers who tend to either lose steam or get injured every third or fourth test. He can be the best bowling coach for India as he knows the conditions very well, has been a good fast bowler himself and played for the country. He is now with Delhi Daredevils as their mentor.

Who can forget Col. Hemu Adhikari, the Services batsman, brilliant fielder, leg spinner and India's coach in 1971 when India made history by winning the first series abroad. Coming from a military background, discipline was his second nature and coached players like Sunil Gavaskar, Ajit Wadekar, Dilip Sardesai and Kapil Dev.

Normally one talks of Greg Chappell, Garry Kirsten, John Wright, Andy Flower and Duncan Fletcher when one talks of coaches. When Chappell was India's coach, not only India fared badly but relations between captain and coach soured irretrievably. The present coach Duncan Fletcher too had a torrid time when India were trounced both by England and Australia on their last tours.

Isn't it high time for somebody like Col. Hemu Adhikari to take over? Coaches who have proved themselves are around. They are hungry to succeed, their integrity beyond doubt and are known for their hard work. What they need is a chance to show their worth. Shouldn't they be roped in and given a chance rather than going for the unknown all the time?

Who can forget the efforts of Sandeep Patil, present chairman of the BCCI selection committee, when he coached Kenya and the unsung team entered the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup?

Shouldn't BCCI call up one of the Indian coaches to take over when the time comes for Fletcher to leave?

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