We need to strengthen the system, writes Makarand Waingankar

Indian cricketing fraternity seems to have confused cricket with kho-kho.

Each former cricketer is recommending another player for the coach’s post. Shouting ‘Quit India’ at foreign coaches has become the most popular form of passing time.

However, the BCCI president has chosen to not take notice of the tirade. The 2015 World Cup is starting in less than a year and changing support staff now will certainly affect the morale of the team. The Indian team hasn’t been doing well in One-Day Internationals and we need to be worried because it is in Australia and New Zealand that the World Cup will be played.

Coming up after the Indian Premier League is India’s tour to England for a Test series and five ODIs.  Hopefully the tour will give scope to try all permutations and combinations there. We need to finalise an effective combination that will work in alien conditions. The pacers will be the key to success in World Cup but at this moment they aren’t even consistent in home conditions.

Aggressive media

With BCCI not letting either Dhoni or Fletcher interact with the media about the broader outline of the plan, the media is in an aggressive mood. No one knows the plans of the captain and the team management for the World Cup and thus the criticism is purely based on speculation.

And it is this criticism from half-baked sources that has converted into a strong recommendation for Indian coaches. Perhaps they don’t remember that it was after the failures of more than half a dozen Indian coaches in the 1990s that a foreign coach was introduced. John Wright was the first such official who helped India build a strong team after the match-fixing saga.

One question that has been doing the rounds is why is the BCCI reluctant to have an Indian as an assistant coach to Fletcher. Do players feel that Indian coaches come with an agenda, or do they lack in planning?

There must have been some reason for so many Indian coaches to fail in the 90s. BCCI senses resistance from the senior players and knows that it will do no good to impose a coach who is not liked by the players. Eventually, it is the captain and his teammates who win the match.

The issue has gone out of hand and has been over complicated. We should aim at practical solutions instead of making a big fuss. One solution is that Fletcher should attend the selection committee meetings which he used to do as the England coach. Thus, instead of getting indirect information about the player’s performance on the tour or in domestic tournaments, the selectors should get it from the coach. Better communication means lesser misunderstanding.

Domestic matches

Fletcher should also be allowed to watch important domestic matches. How would he otherwise plan for replacements if he isn’t allowed to watch domestic cricket? As the England coach, he was in contact with county coaches about prospective players for England. The rapport between him and the county coaches was perfect. Here in Indian cricket, Fletcher coaches those who are picked by the national selectors.

Robin Uthappa has been scoring consistently in all formats of the game. But Fletcher hardly gets to watch such players. If he watches domestic matches, India would have a better bench strength and stronger strategy management.

Replacing the coach is no solution. What we need is to work with the structure we have and strengthen the system instead. There should be better communication between captain, coach, selectors and the NCA.