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FORUM
Q: Should foreign coaches be appointed for the Indian cricket team?
This is the first instalment of readersí response

No foreign hand should ever guide India

No foreign coach should be appointed for Indian cricket or any other sport. The only exception that should be made is in case we have to prepare our athletes/teams for the Olympics. A vast majority of the Indian players belongs to the lower or lower-middle-class families from the rural areas; and most of the athletes do not read beyond class XII. Besides, their medium of instruction has never been English.

All foreign coaches try to impart lessons in English and make no attempt to learn regional dialects. Though Indian translators are given to them at times, even they arenít of much use. Secondly, foreign coaches do not understand our Indian culture.

Understanding each playerís match temperament is an important factor for good performance in a match and this is missing in foreign coaches. India has number of experienced, retired famous cricketers and men of similar experience and repute in other sport, who are waiting to be appointed coaches. They understand an Indian playerís psychology better than any of the foreigners, so why waste valuable foreign exchange on hiring costly foreign coaches.

Lt Col J. S. DHILLON, Coach and former national shooting champion, Chandigarh

 

Just pick the best

It has been a matter of discussion for a long time whether we should have a local or a foreign coach, be it for cricket, hockey or football. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. A local coach can understand players in a better way, whereas, a foreign coach may be more aware of the level of mental and physical preparation required for playing at the international level.

More emphasis should laid on getting a coach that has the following qualities: as sound knowledge of the game, patience, tolerance, creativity, ability to think, perceive and apply new ideas and above all a positive, friendly and encouraging attitude. All things being equal or even in cases where the difference is minor, preference should be given to the local coach.

In the recent case, Mohinder Amarnath should have been preferred to Greg Chappell. Foreign coaches should be appointed only when suitable local candidates are not available.

HARINDER CHEEMA, On e-mail

 

John was right more often

The performance of the Indian team has been declining with every match, especially in the One-Day Internationals. Our last coach, New Zealandís John Wright, did everything a coach can do to improve his teamís performance and he became successful, too. Under his coaching, our team beat Australia on home turf in 2001. He took us to the finals of the World Cup and made us win in Australia and Pakistan as well. He was foreign.

Under him, our team gained more than it lost. We lost because of the players and not because of the coach. He was the first foreign coach we had and his performance was better that any Indian coach weíve had. Although Kapil Dev was a great player and his captaincy made us win the World Cup, he did not prove to be a good coach.

Our players are great and so should be our coach. India has produced many good players like Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Mohinder Amarnath, but they lack coaching abilities, and our players donít give much respect to Indian coaches.

ARUNIMA, Hoshiarpur

 

Foreign coaches are expensive

There are many good cricketers in India who have retired, but are still capable of motivating the Indian cricket team. Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar are two such players. We donít need a foreign coach, as Indian coaches are better. Moreover, they charge a high fee from the Indian cricket board, which ultimately means a waste of money. If there are efficient coaches in India, we should not look to foreign shores?

AYUSHI SACHDEVA, Yamunanagar

 

The coach should have correct vision

I strongly believe that a coach is appointed for a team so that he can act as a leader and mould the team into a single unit. While appointing a coach, the selection committee should not take into consideration the nationality of the coach; instead, it should look into whether or not the candidate has a broader vision.

The BCCI has taken the right decision in choosing Greg Chappell as the new Indian coach. The foreign coaches have advanced knowledge of the right technique and fitness programmes. John Wright did a tremendous job for India. The new foreign coach should be well conversant with the players to maintain a good rapport with them.

The board has nothing against the India coaches, but the appointment of a foreign coach is for the betterment of the team.

MOHIT GUPTA, Panchkula

 

Foreigners do not have regional bias

If they say only an Indian coach can guide the team in Indian conditions, how come John Wright was a success? The answer is that Wright set a yardstick for each player and he did not bother whether a player belonged to Mumbai or Kolkata. He refused to coddle superstars, had the good sense to turn aside attention. He also had a good discipline, work ethic and vision. Greg Chappell is one step ahead of his predecessor.

Nationalists miss the point that sport improves with the exchange of ideas between nations. Knowledge cannot be limited to geographical boundaries. Argument that only Indians can understand the environs or our dressing room is fine, but it is this dressing-room culture that we want to alter.

Language is no big hurdle either, but the foreign coach should have the ability to work with fast bowlers. Indiaís fast bowling lacks punch; the selectors should go for an additional bowling coach.

SURESH KHOSLA, Chandigarh

Give us the team first

India does not have a cricket team; rather, it is a bunch of stars and superstars playing together. How could anyone doubt the abilities of greats like Sachin, Saurav, Rahul, Anil et al? Their records speak for themselves.

I think the word "coach" is a misnomer. At this level, one cannot create or change the playing style of a player. At best, he has an advisory role to suggest minor adjustments in technique to help a player perform better.

What India needs is a person who can bring this bunch of stars to gel together and play for the team. Such a person should be astute enough to deal with the attitudes of certain individuals, both players and the administrators. His cricketing acumen should not leave anything to doubt. Mental alacrity and integrity towards the team are the hallmarks of a great coach.

Considering these attributes, a foreign coach is best to serve Indian cricket. Prejudices of an Indian coach could harm the team interests.

RAJIV BHALLA, Chandigarh

 

Would Australia have Indian coach?

Foreign coaches should definitely be appointed for the Indian cricket team because of their much wider experience and expertise on account of frequent international assignments that they get. Indian coaches get less opportunity to coach a foreign countryís team and so they remain confined mainly to India.

Secondly, foreign coaches can guide the Indian cricket team in developing a better strategy to deal with the opposition because they have once played in that team and know all its weaknesses. Moreover, they can analyse the weaknesses of the Indian cricket team in a much better way. Foreign coaches are more polite with fans than their Indian counterparts.

SANJAY CHAWLA, Amritsar

 

Who is more professional?

Foreign coaches are more professional, more determined and more technically sound than their Indian counterparts. They are also free of prejudices that local coaches have.

They are more costly than Indian coaches, but it should not be a problem for the richest cricket control board in the world. Records prove that foreign coaches are more successful than home coaches, especially for the Asian teams. Sri Lankan teamís World Cup victory (1996) under Dave Wahatmore, Pakistani teamís progress under Bob Woolmer, Bangladeshís first Test win after almost five years under Dave Wahatmore and Team Indiaís recovery from match fixing under John Wright are just a few examples. Cricket is one sport in India where money is no object.

ROHIT SHARMA, Amritsar

 

It reminds us of the Raj

Pre-Independence, we remember how all administrative officers were always British, but the post-Independence appointment of Greg Chappell has put the Indians vision in jeopardy. It seems the flavour of Swadeshi is vanishing. The country with population over 110 crore cannot find a suitable Indian coach, thatís a pity.

The Indian cricket team has produced legends like Lala Amarnath, Vinoo Mankand etc. and living legends like Ajit Wadekar, Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath, Kapil Dev, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar etc. The team rose to new heights under the captainship of Kapil Dev when India won the World cup at Lordís. Gavaskar and Amarnath played in that team.

Weíll have to look at the motive behind the appointment of Greg Chappell, especially in view of his recent statement that Sachin is past his prime. Even today, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly have a tremendous footing and respect among the Indians.

Even Sir Don Bradman respected Sachin, and the new India coach has just hurt millions of Indians with his statement. The selection process can at best be described as undemocratic.

SIMMI MOHINDRU, Jalandhar City

 

Compare their training methods

History of sport is as old as the human race. Games of various kinds have been played since the ancient days, but no sport has ever captured the imagination of Indians like cricket, a sport that is not given much importance at the international level. Not only coaches of the teams, even the pitches, grounds, players and cricket board need to be changed.

Cricketers around the world are fully in the selection of a coach for the Indian cricket team; thatís why the appointment has got such attention from the media. The role of the coach in cricket is crucial.

Thereís a couplet in Urdu that goes like this: "Yun to pather ki bhi takdir badli ja sakti hai, Magar shart yeh hai ki Trike se tarasha jae.

There are number of parameters on which the performance of players and coaches can be judged. Therefore, the merit of each coach, his expertise, experience and art of training should be examined carefully before the appointment, whether he is an Indian or a foreigner. The engaging of a foreign coach is fully justified, if it is done so on merit and the process continues in future, too.

PARAMJIT SINGH SEKHON, Kapurthala

 

A person coaches, not his country

In this era of globalisation when we can accept any foreign thing, why canít we accept a foreign coach? Today people ask for the abolition of quota system, and want that selections should be made only on merit; the same applies to cricket. They who call for merit would surely want to see how educated in game is the new coach and can he or can he not transfer his knowledge to players.

A coach should be such that he can bring the shortcomings of players to surface and then correct these. In todayís techno-savvy world, the coach should be able to use technology in improving performance. India may be a software power, but our former players are not so techno-savvy.

To compete against Australia and England, we need a non-partial coach. Due to politics, this might be difficult for an Indian. Most important is that the new coach should have proven record as coach and not just as a player.

NISHANT SHARMA, Panchkula

 

Greg is gen-next coach

Choosing Greg Chappell as Indian cricket teamĎs coach in place of John Wright is a right step that the BCCI has taken. We have seen in the past five years that when Wright was the coach, the very first change that came in the Indian team was in the level of commitment show by the players in the field.

Fielding standards of the entire team improved significantly. No player could now take his place for granted.

The most important thing is that a foreign coach should remain impartial, which is one of the big negatives of Indian coaches (that they are not impartial). He should not have racist views. To utilise the foreign coach optimally, the board should provide him with full freedom, so that he can cultivates and nurture talent and also plan for success at the senior level.

TAPAN MALHOTRA, Shimla

 

Itís a tough phase

Indian cricket team known for its best performances in the past is now passing through a difficult time and, during these conditions, a new foreign coach is appointed. I think it is the best decision to have come out of the chaos. If anything can lift the morale of this sagging Indian cricket team, itís a foreign coach.

The appointment of a coach, rather, should not be a matter of foreign or Indian. It is the matter of the aspirations of a hundred crores of Indians afflicted with cricket mania. We need the best results from the team and the BCCI also knows that itís sitting on a volcano.

It has appointed Greg because it also respects the Indiansí affection for their team. It has to take the decision keeping all view what is best for our India and its favourite pastime.

ANISH KUMAR SINGLA, On e-mail

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