Cricket

South African coaches providing different dimensions

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It's an exciting phase in cricket coaching at international and domestic levels. The game is certainly getting more professional with South African coaches providing different dimensions to the game. At a time when the Australian coaches are preferred in India, Cricket Australia chose South African Micky Arthur though Steve Rixon was doing a decent job.

Another South African Gary Kirsten is credited with the superb handling of the Indian team that won the World Cup and did well in other formats of the game. But Duncan Fletcher from the same country hasn't been lucky yet to get the best out of the Indian team.

Is the role of coaching over hyped? Like they say a captain is as good as his team, after the success of John Buchanan, it is said he was successful because he had world class players in the team. Michael Holding doesn't even remember the names of the managers of the West Indies team that was bulldozing every international team.

When there was criticism that the West Indies team doesn't bowl the full quota of the day, Wesley Hall's retort was fitting, “When you don't bat even 60 overs against us, how do you expect us to bowl 90 overs to you”. He further added, “We have a simple policy. When batsmen can't score more than 450 runs, we don't expect bowlers to score runs nor do we expect batsmen to take 20 wickets. Bits and pieces players have no place in our cricket”. Sadly, West Indies cricket is now struggling despite the fact it hired the services of Otis Gibson from the English team management.

It's not the calibre of a player but the system that churns out quality players. The reason why Australia, South Africa and England continue to do well is because they plan for the future and the plan is discussed with the coach of the national team.

India's problem

The problem with Indian cricket is none of the state coaches get to meet the national coach. When John Wright was the coach, he wasn't invited for the conclave of coaches and captains. The advantage of a national team coach interacting with state coaches is that they are aware of the strategy and big picture.

Internationally, academy coaches are in constant touch with the national coach. The players are trained accordingly. Recently Graham Thorpe spent a lot of time with English batsmen in Mumbai and Pune teaching them how to play spin on turning tracks.

He hired the services of more than 20 local spinners to bowl to his batsmen on turning tracks. England captain Andrew Strauss too joined the team. It's Thorpe's job to work on England's second string and get them to perform for England.

In India we don't believe in the second string concept though Dhoni and many others were part of the India ‘A' team in 2003. They were identified by the Talent Resource Development Officers (TRDO). Dhoni's talents were reported by east zone's two TRDO's Prakash Chandra Podar and Raju Mukherjee.

Most of the boys were fast-tracked into the Indian team within a couple of years. In fact Parthiv Patel played Ranji Trophy much after he played for India. With Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag and Zaheer Khan in the twilight of their careers, we need to have a system that will produce quality replacements.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 2:18:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/south-african-coaches-providing-different-dimensions/article2774249.ece

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