Coach tales: BCCI looking offshore to get job done leads to creased brows at home
The last time the national team had a full-time Indian as coach was 15 years ago when Kapil Dev headed it for a year. Since then, the Indian board has invariably looked offshore.Updated: Apr 10, 2015 02:16 IST
Over the years, the BCCI’s insistence on appointing a foreign coach for the national team has caused consternation in the coaching community.
To put it in perspective, the last time the national team had a full-time Indian as coach was 15 years ago when Kapil Dev headed it for a year. Since then, the Indian board has invariably looked offshore.
India’s current team director Ravi Shastri held the position as a stop-gap arrangement after the team’s 2007 World Cup debacle. However, he was swiftly replaced by South African Gary Kirsten.
A similar trend can be seen in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Most team owners continue to bank on foreign coaches. Of the eight teams this season, seven will be headed by a foreign coach. Kings XI Punjab’s Sanjay Bangar is the only Indian head coach. While a few teams have hired Indian coaches as part of their support staff, they still rely on foreign coaches to lead the way.
Incidentally, Bangar is only the second Indian head coach of an IPL franchise after Lalchand Rajput at Mumbai Indians in 2008.
The dependence on foreign coaches has not gone down well with homebred coaches. Last season, former India cricketer Venkatesh Prasad had lashed out at the trend, saying that it needs a serious rethink.
“It’s simple that only four foreign players can be in the playing XI. The remaining seven are Indians. It’s an ‘Indian’ Premier League,” Prasad had said.
With foreign players forming an important part, many teams have shown an inclination to appointing a foreign coach.
However, according to Kings XI COO Fraser Castellino, the opposite seems to be a more workable solution. “For us Sanjay (Bangar) has done an exceptional job. His understanding of Indian cricket and the players is immense. When he started as head coach his vision was clear and he promoted Indian players to take up key roles in the team and they invariably lived up to it,” said Castellino.
After former head coach Darren Lehmann took over the Australia team in 2013, the franchise decided to ditch their hierarchy of having former Australian cricketers as their coaches in favour of Bangar. His appointment bore instant fruit for KXIP. Under his tutelage, Kings XI reached the final of the 2014 edition.
According to Praveen Amre, assistant coach of Delhi Daredevils, the head coach being from outside India does not matter. However, it is the combination of foreign and Indian coaches that makes it a right fit."I do not understand this fascination with foreign coaches. It is a trend that has been part of Indian cricket for a while now," said former India coach Madan Lal. "In a T20 game one does not need more than one coach. Indian coaches are more than capable of deciding strategy."