Chandu Borde, the India cricket manager, is 72 and, not surprisingly, this figure raised comment in India after he was named for the job. His first nets with an Indian team here left him delighted, and he insisted that he has his own style of functioning and that it would not be fair to compare him with his predecessors.
“I have my own style… I look and try to focus on the finer points of the game,” Borde said. “To be after the players all the time, to tell them to do this and that is not necessary.”
Borde also refused to be drawn into any controversy - on how his own method compares with Greg Chappell’s — there was no comment. But he remained on his feet for four hours — a fact he mentioned in passing in an informal chat at the end of practice — talking with the players, advising Gautam Gambhir on his backlift and Piyush Chawla about his bowling action.
Apart from that, Borde remained a spectator for most of the session. “I talked with Gautam Gambhir, about the way he was moving at the wicket, and he was pleased by my advice,” said Borde. “Piyush Chawla’s hand was falling down after the delivery of the ball, and I advised him on how to avoid that.”
How does he look at his role? Would he rather be keen to remain a behind-the-scenes thinker? Would he rather let Venkatesh Prasad, Robin Singh and Rahul Dravid manage everything? “Yes, they are doing well,” he said. “I like the way things are going. If I see a problem, I’ll talk to the team, tell them to do things the way they should be done.”
Borde had a close look at the pitch, found it rather damp and predicted it would be a bit slow. “Today we are happy that we got a good session, but I hope we get a better session tomorrow,” he said. “The wickets were a bit damp. But with this weather (the sun was out now) and with the breeze blowing, I think there would be no problems during the matches. With the cloud cover and the damp pitch and the breeze, the seam bowlers would likely do well.
“One thing is certain — if the wicket is good, it would come on nicely to the bat,” he said. “I don’t think this is an express fast pitch, this is a bit slow.” If Borde’s estimate turns out to be accurate, the Indians would be delighted. However, with rains predicted over the next few days, Borde could just have been hopeful. The track could turn out to be a damp terror rather than a benign belter.