Effective delivery counts more than imported mentors, writes Makarand Waingankar
Most of the franchisees tend to believe that only foreign captains and coaches know how to win T20 matches. Rajasthan Royals’ win in the first edition of the IPL followed by Deccan Chargers’ triumph in the second will only foster that view.
But whatever maybe the combination of captain and coach, it was the planning and implementation of strategy that was evident in the successful teams in South Africa.
The most expensive franchise was Mumbai Indians who were sent to South Africa even before the tournament began to train under mentor Shaun Pollock and fielding coach Jonty Rhodes. They were in an advantageous position as getting acclimatised to the South African conditions was key to success.
The other combinations of Buchanan-McCullum, Gilchrist-Lehmann and Pietersen-Jennings had different theories. Buchanan needed a captain to implement his theories.
Lehmann having played with Gilchrist knew his mind and when Jennings wanted to push his theories he was stuck with Pietersen as a captain who didn’t even know the names of the players in his team.
One can put Tendulkar and Pietersen in the same bracket as captains. Both geniuses, who set high standards. The problem with these geniuses is that they virtually were the coaches of the team. They didn’t seem to realise that a coach has to fine-tune the player’s capabilities to help him attain the level that his captain expects. There is a process.
Another major problem with a genius as captain is that in trying to outsmart the opposition he propagates moves which are not easy to implement.
That both Tendulkar and Pietersen are no great captains is a fact, but in the IPL they had the support of successful international captains either in teams or management and yet we watched some ordinary strategies.
The best piece of leadership came from veteran Anil Kumble. When coach Jennings was pushing Pietersen to lead, he obviously didn’t expect both Kumble and Dravid to contribute. Had he believed in either of them, he would have asked Kumble to lead from the first game as Pietersen was available for only four games, anyway.
Whatever may be the level of the game, it is imperative that a captain must know his players. Tendulkar, Pietersen and McCullum didn’t seem to know the strengths and weaknesses of their players to counter the strategies of the opposition.
Kumble worked on the strengths of his team, worked on the combination and didn’t let the players desert the basics of the game. That’s very vital in a team game.
Both Kumble and Gilchrist were consistent in their approach that got them to the final. To the modern generation of captains and coaches it is a lesson they ought to remember. It’s not the imported mentors or load of theories that matter, but effective delivery.