Team India: How to choose the Big Boss
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There are many things that get Indian cricket fans riled up: losing to Pakistan, DRS (decision review system), batsmen who slow down for a century, Indian teams that show too little aggression on the field, Indian teams that show too much aggression on the field, people who make fun of Sachin Tendulkar, Bangladesh fans on the eve of a match against India... and very low on this list of things that annoy fans lies the process of picking the Indian coach.
Of course, there have been controversial coaches—Greg Chappell the most notable among them—but never has the process of picking a coach played out like the soap opera we’re currently witnessing.
For those who missed it (which is basically people who have been living under a rock), here’s a brief summary:
■Virat Kohli got what he wanted: Ravi Shastri as coach.
■Ravi Shastri got what he wanted: Bharat Arun as bowling coach.
■The cricket advisory committee, comprising Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman, didn’t get even one thing that they wanted: no Anil Kumble as coach, no Zaheer Khan as bowling consultant, no Rahul Dravid as batting consultant for overseas tours.
■The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) got what it wanted: The committee of administrators appointed by the Supreme Court to clean up cricket has looked so out of its depth that the BCCI has come out looking ultra-professional.
■Most importantly, Virender Sehwag got what we all wanted—the fact that he isn’t the coach means he’ll have more time to tweet.
As with everything else, there are different points of view about this. Some feel that too many legends—Tendulkar, Ganguly, Kumble, Laxman—have been insulted in order to please a brash young captain who doesn’t know what’s best for him.
Others feel as strongly that the team belongs to the captain, which means he should have a say in who he’s working with. If Ganguly felt he couldn’t work with Chappell, Kohli is completely justified in not wanting to work with Kumble.
There is, however, a third point of view, one which not many people have stated: Instead of getting upset about this whole charade, we should be looking at the positives.
For years—make that decades—we have complained about all the murky wheeling and dealing that goes on behind the scenes, about the lack of transparency in Indian cricket.
This entire coach saga has been the first step towards a sport that functions completely in the open. Think about it...no one’s hiding what they want, everyone’s sniping at someone, there’s zero secrecy around the power games being played, and there’s no need for anyone to read between the lines. Exactly like a good, old-fashioned soap opera.
In fact, this entire process has been so entertaining that we should start a movement for the next coach’s appointment to follow the popular reality-TV format. All stakeholders—captain, senior players, committee of legends, board members, Supreme Court observers and, of course, all candidates—should be locked in a large house with cameras rolling day and night, recording all the relevant (i.e. juicy) bits that go into picking the big boss.
And at the end of two weeks, Shastri will be the winner.
Deepak Narayanan, a journalist for nearly 20 years, now runs an events space, The 248 Collective, in Goa. He tweets at @deepakyen.