Is Indian cricket being ushered into a new world where words like integration, alignment and coordination between its various wings, may acquire a definite meaning?
Anil Kumble has been in his new job as the Indian coach for only a few days, but by all accounts, he has brought with him a fresh energy and a wave of ideas that he is eager to implement without any delay.
How he performs as a coach is for the future to judge and it would be premature to play the guessing game, that too, if one may say so, when he has yet to deliver even the first ball of his new spell. However, going by the few moves he has made, it does appear he has a wider and holistic vision of Indian cricket in mind.
What transpired in Bangalore on Sunday afternoon was, perhaps, the first move in that direction. On Kumble’s initiative, a meeting was organized between India’s junior and India A coach Rahul Dravid, the chairman of the senior selection committee, Sandip Patil, the junior selection committee chief Venkatesh Prasad, the two coaches and physio of the National Cricket Academy W. V.Raman, Narendra Hirwani and Andrew Leipus, along with the training staff of the Indian team as well as the two captains, Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni.
It was an unusual meeting and what was being discussed has never been attempted before. As Kumble put it later, “there is a need to look at Indian cricket as an integrated whole, where it is aligned in a manner that is beneficial to all.”
If you jog your memory a bit, you will remember that Dhoni had last year said in a press conference that he as the Indian captain is so busy with his international commitments, that he does not know who are the genuinely talented youngsters that need to be introduced into the Indian team.
This meeting was the first step towards addressing this lacuna in the top-heavy Indian system, where it becomes difficult at times to fill in the gaps that are created due to a sudden injury to a key player. And if this integrated system takes off, it will help the strategist of the Indian team to make those working at the junior level aware of what kind of players are needed to further strengthen the team.
Not only that, this exercise will also make those working at the grass-root level more attuned to a system where every stake-holder becomes a cog in the smooth functioning of the larger wheel.
Kumble, the giant among Indian bowlers, may be bursting with ideas but even then it is not always easy to put in place so quickly an action plan that could help Indian cricket improve as an integrated whole. That an earnest beginning has been made and the Board has responded well is to be welcomed.
The author tweets as @pradeepmagazine.