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Updated: May 14, 2014 00:16 IST

‘Nothing against foreign coaches, but Indian coaches can be just as good’

S. Dinakar
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Former India cricketer Venkatesh Prasad. File photo
The Hindu
Former India cricketer Venkatesh Prasad. File photo

Former Indian seamer Venkatesh Prasad and all-rounder Robin Singh worked together as a team between 2007 and 2009, coaching the Indian team.

The debate on Indian versus foreign coaches continues to rage on. Sanjay Bangar’s stunning success at the helm of King’s XI Punjab in the ongoing edition of the IPL has given a fillip to the cause of home-grown men for the job.

Given that Duncan Fletcher will guide India as coach, without an Indian understudy, till the end of the 2015 ICC ODI World Cup, several Indians aspiring for the role have been left disappointed.

Former Indian seamer Venkatesh Prasad and all-rounder Robin Singh worked together as a team between 2007 and 2009, coaching the Indian team. The period was rewarding for India with the side winning a Test series in England, defeating Australia in a Test in Perth, considered a fast bowler’s paradise, and making history by triumphing in the gruelling Australian ODI tri-series for the first time.

Then, rather abruptly, Prasad and Robin were discarded.

Prasad, here on a promotional event, spoke to The Hindu on the contentious subject.

“The Indian coaches are second to none when it comes to strategy, technical inputs, man-management skills and focussing on specific cricketers with one-on-one sessions,” he said.

“Robin is a fine coach. I think I have qualities that can impact a side positively as well.”

On the need to groom an Indian coach, Prasad said he had conversed on the subject with legends Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid years back.

“Even when Greg Chappell was the Indian coach, I had spoken to Anil and Rahul about the benefit of getting Chappell to pass on his tremendous technical knowledge to an Indian coach. This would have helped Indian cricket in the long run,” he said.

Prasad maintained that he holds nothing against foreign coaches but said it was not quite right to sideline deserving Indians.

“John Wright was good at man-management and was a hard task master. He organised net sessions particularly well. Give credit where it is due, but to assume that the foreign coaches are the answer to all problems is a little far fetched,” he said.

The former paceman added: “Bangar has excelled with King’s XI Punjab this season. But Gary Kirsten has been having an ordinary time with Delhi Daredevils. This does not make him a poor coach. Let us not jump to conclusions and over-react.

“Give the same leeway to an Indian coach. We need to be balanced in how we view results and assess coaches.”

One of the factors that has gone against home coaches — a perception, really — is that many of them, having played plenty of domestic cricket, carry back several prejudices having roots in their own experiences. They are also thought to be closer to cricketers from the same state or zone.

The foreign coaches, many said, bring with them a fresh and unbiased mind that enable them treat each cricketer equally, creating harmony in the dressing room.

“This is totally wrong,” Prasad fumed. “Our integrity cannot be questioned. The Indian coaches look at nothing but merit. And they are better suited to the job. They know the Indian conditions, understand the Indian psyche, and comprehend how to work in the system.”

Prasad might have a point.

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