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Casting coaches in comfort zone

Kirsten and rest of the foreign support staff have struck plumb deals with the BCCI, reports Anand Vasu.

cricket Updated: Sep 20, 2008 23:38 IST
Anand Vasu

India coaches have rarely had it so good. Gary Kirsten is one of the few to have landed a two-year contract from the word go. When the Board of Control for Cricket in India appointed him, he was given a contract from March 1, 2008 to February 28, 2010.

What's more, Kirsten is also the highest paid member of the coaching establishment, at $ 30,000 per month (net of taxes) and with medical insurance, accommodation and local transport in Bangalore thrown in.

When he's not with the Indian team the coach gets an allowance of Rs 1050 a day. Naturally the BCCI takes care of the tools Kirsten needs, like a laptop computer and mobile phone.

Paddy Upton, who is the Indian team's mental and physical trainer and strategic leadership coach, takes home $ 14000 a month, with the same perks thrown in, only, for reasons best known to the BCCI he gets Rs 50 a day less than Kirsten when not with the team.

But it is not only those who are with the team who have sweet deals. Dav Whatmore, who was one of the contenders for the job Kirsten eventually landed, was made the director of operations at the National Cricket Academy - at the behest of Ravi Shastri — in Bangalore at an annual package of $ 175,000.

When Whatmore signed on with Indian cricket one of the first things the board did was to put in place a professional set-up at the academy in Bangalore. One of the key concerns was careful monitoring of fitness and physical conditioning of players who were on the fringe of the Indian team.

To this end, Paul Close was roped in as physiotherapist at $ 90,000 a year and Paul Chapman, brought in to work with strength and conditioning at $ 75,000 a year. The board also took responsibility for their housing in Bangalore and local transport.

While all these appointments have been made over the last year, there was one request from Kirsten that was turned down, Hindustan Times has learnt.

Kirsten wanted Dr Sherylle Calder to spend time with the Indian team, working on visual performance skills training. Calder is a world-renowned expert in the field, and is the only person to have been involved in consecutive Rugby World Cup wins as a member of coaching staff. She worked with Jonny Wilkinson's 2003 England team and Bryan Habana's 2007 South African team.

Calder worked in areas like hand-eye co-ordination, motor reflex skills and visual stamina and endurance. Calder comes well recommended with people from Sir Clive Woodward in Rugby to Jeremy Bates in tennis endorsing her technology.

Calder has worked in cricket before with the late Bob Woolmer and more recently with Simon Taufel, the International Cricket Council's umpire of the year for five consecutive years.

“I have been using technology for two years now and I believe it has improved my decision-making and self-confidence in a very demanding environment," said Taufel.

The BCCI, which has made several appointments in terms of support staff in the last year, however, gave Calder a miss.