A thorough professional, he has built a formidable KXIP squad.
Foreign coach or Indian coach? This debate has been going on for quite some time. Same set of arguments have been aired. Foreign coaches are considered to be efficient and smart. But is there another facet to this equation? Consider coach Sanjay Bangar’s performance in the IPL-7.
What people don’t understand is the coach has to adopt methods according to the requirements of his team.
In the earlier edition of IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders appointed John Buchanan as the head coach seeing that he was the coach of the invincible Australian team.
How could that go wrong? Little did the bosses at the KKR realise that the Australian team which Buchanan handled was a team of great players. KKR was a budding team and it needed a different kind of handling.
An IPL team is not as easy to handle as a national team as it contains a combination of players: international, Indian international and first class, it has all the possible tiers.
To expect an Indian first class player to raise his standard to the level of a Gayle or a Pietersen is impossible; the experience and skill are very different.
However, a low key Sanjay Bangar seems to have worked out the winning formula for Kings XI Punjab. Bangar came to Mumbai in the early 80s from Aurangabad. He played in the two editions of Sportstar tournament in the 90s. He always impressed with his allround abilities but more so as captain. Leading Railways in the inter-Railways tournament, he got the best out of his players for the Ranji team.
In fact under his captaincy he won the Ranji Trophy, Irani Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy. A typical Mumbai cricketer who sets the standard high, he was surprisingly rejected by the MCA core committee for the job of a coach in 2012.
Bangar’s strength is in man-management as he believes that the coach and the player need to be on the same page. This simple fact is ignored by many prominent coaches.
Once he recognised what works for a player, he developed that knack of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of a player. He selected his IPL team after doing proper home work.
During the bidding, it was quite evident that he was filling slots as per Plan A and B. His demeanour indicated that he was looking out for players who would be able to play the roles assigned to them.
Having done that, he has spent time with each player discussing their assigned role.
Rajasthan Royals did the same under coaches Zubin Bharucha and Monty Desai. They pay attention to the footage of players.
Another key factor is that like a thorough professional, Bangar doesn’t get sentimental. He prepares his team members and works on the combination thoroughly. Cricket is not about putting eleven great players in a team. It is about making a team that will perform.
For that, a coach has to study the playing conditions, rules and the form of players.
The indifference shown to Bangar by the BCCI says a lot. It’s not that Indian cricket doesn’t have good coaches but it’s pointless having coaching courses at the NCA if these coaches are not given any opportunity in a tournament conducted by the BCCI.
Like players, it is necessary to find good coaches too. One solution is that the IPL governing council must ensure that at least the position of an assistant coach should be reserved for an Indian.