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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014
Debating Team India's next coach
ER Ramachandran
Mysore, May 09, 2007
First Published: 11:51 IST(9/5/2007)
Last Updated: 19:37 IST(9/5/2007)

There is an unnecessary brouhaha about who the next coach of Indian cricket will be. Will it be Whatmore, Moody, Buchanan, Bracewell…?

Well, it doesn't matter who India's coach will eventually be.

What's important is: what happens after that. Here's the likely scenario.

Networks, frothing in their mouths, their cameras craning for angles will splash it all over. Except when he is in the loo, his appointment as the new coach will be covered or uncovered everywhere.

Before appointment, he would have been suitably "appraised" by senior players, and after he gives in for their list of 'do's and' don'ts', they would have recommended him for selection.

The obsequious coach next meets senior ex-cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri (one Test-captain) etc., seeking their help. They assure him of their support, keeping aside their knives for the time being.

The new coach starts his job by drawing a line in the middle of a paper and writing down who is most important on the left and those, who can be safely ignored on the right from among the board, selection committee, cricket academy, state associations, sports correspondents, networks, etc. The outgoing coach would have briefed the new coach to be politically correct, as his survival would much depend on this. He borrows additional sheets from BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah.

In the evening, he is asked to visit Raj Singh Dungarpur to pay his respects, who in turn gives a long lecture on Pentangular Cricket and takes him to his uncle to pay some more respects. After another long lecture by the uncle, the coach comes back tired with a splitting headache.

At night there is a call from Kolkata. The president of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Prasun Mukherjee invites him to inaugurate the Sourav Ganguly temple in Baliaghata with Buddha Deb Bhattacharya and Ms Karat as special guests. After he hangs up, there is one more call. Now, their rivals under Jagmohan Dalmia invite him for inauguration of one more temple dedicated to Ganguly next to Amitabh Bachchan's temple by Mamata didi and Jyoti Basu. Both the callers hold a veiled threat that they can't promise his security at Eden Gardens if he skips the function. The coach starts sweating mildly even in the AC room.

Next day, the committee which selected him, feels he should be hired on a temporary basis and given a contract only after he proves himself. Till such time, the coach will draw his daily wages from Treasurer Srinivasan. This is communicated to him by an email which is leaked before it reaches the coach.

The new coach attends a felicitation function in which Mohinder Amarnath the "comeback kid" of Indian cricket fires a salvo saying the only reason BCCI goes for a foreign coach is because of its slavish mentality even after 60 years of independence. Worse is yet to come, when Mohinder sings a Punjabi song and sings for another half an hour.

In the same function, Mandira Bedi and Charu Sharma who are still in the West Indian hangover ask Ms Rithambara, to consult her Tarot cards and predict how long the coach will survive. The coach is asked to show his palm so that she can read between the lines and predict for him. Finally, she admits she can do so only after seeing BCCI President Sharad Pawar's hand. Everybody knows, nobody knows what's going on Mr Pawar's head, including Mr Pawar himself!

Next day, the players send a delegation of advertisers to meet the coach. They feel a discussion between them could bring the players closer to the coach. At the end, coach does a bhangra with the players joining him for the song "agale baar cup jaroor leayenge!" which comes as "Breaking News" across all networks at 11 pm news.

Late night, as he is lying on the bed he remembers he hasn't opened his coaching manual yet.

Then, he remembers the parting words of the previous coach.

"You won't need those manuals as long as you are in India!"

E Ramachandran can be reached at erram@rediffmail.com.

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