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Players prickle at SA taskmaster

cricket Updated: May 10, 2009 03:07 IST
G Krishnan
G Krishnan
Hindustan Times
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What is it with foreign coaches and Indian players? In success and in defeat Indian cricketers are finding it difficult to stomach the methods of imported coaches. While the most prominent case is that of John Buchanan and the Kolkata Knight Riders, it seems all is not rosy in the Royal Challengers Bangalore camp.

The discontent with Ray Jennings stems from the fact that he has chosen to play South Africans (Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, Dillon du Preez, Roelof van der Merwe) in all four slots open to foreigners. This means that the Kiwi pair of Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder has no option but to warm the bench.

But some of the Indians in the unit are not happy either. “He is a workaholic,” said a Bangalore player. “If we lose, it is endless hours at the nets the next morning. If we win, it is again back to the nets. On the days off, we hit the gym at 7am and then go to a practice match. So what if we lose a game or two?” the player asked. “Another problem with Jennings is that he does not trust the Indian players simply because he does not know them well. He is keen to please the owners. There are numerous video presentations that sometimes get meaningless,” said another team member.

The other aspect that has bothered the juniors is Jennings’ decision to limit the number of players in the dressing-room during matches. “Only 14 or 16 players are picked before every game and they sit in the dug out. What is the reason for him to not have others even in the dressing room?” a player who felt unwanted asked.

The fact of the matter is that Jennings has a reputation of a hard task-master. “He is a fine coach at the junior level where he brings discipline. But he does the same with seniors,” said a former South Africa player.

For now, though, there is no serious danger of a revolt in the Bangalore camp. Firstly, their results have seen an improvement, and critically, Anil Kumble is leading the team. “Kumble taking over as captain is the best thing to happen for the team,” said a player. “It is a well-knit team. Much more so than last year.”