Haphazard views : A snooping psyche dissected

An e-space full of ramblings and mumblings


For Team India's recent debacle at the World Cup, if there is one person to be singled out, it has to be the coach Mr Greg Chappell and NO ONE ELSE.

But, a post-mortem, a thorough introspection is unavoidable and it has to be done immediately. The call of the time is to look back and decide on how to look ahead.

Whether the coach is an Indian Coach or a foreign coach doesn’t really make any difference as long as the coach is a thorough professional and understands the team and the players’ mentalities. John Buchanan’s term with Australia is about to finish so the BCCI might just rope in for him. Sandeep Patil was a total failure during his earlier stint as Indian coach and I don’t really know if coaching Kenya has done him any good. The best coach in the world to me is Dav Whatmore who can turn minnows into world-beaters. He doesn’t talk too much, doesn’t create unnecessary fuss around him and stays away from the spotlight as much as possible. Had I had the power, I would have got hold of him at the cost of anything once his contract with Bangladesh terminates.

There are speculations of Sachin being re-appointed as the Skipper. I don’t really know if that would be a great thing to do at this point in time. He has twice been given this role before and has failed to perform.
Some time back, Brian Lara was re-appointed as the West Indian Captain after a series of disasters under Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s captaincy. Lara had ‘been there, done that’ before also and to be honest, his captaincy records during his earlier two tenures were not any better than Sachin’s. However, at 36 (Lara is nearing 38 now), he didn’t have anything more to achieve as a player. Whatever a batsman can ever dream of achieving individually is already in his kitty. His only motivation now lies in being a part of a champion team which he hasn’t quite been able to during all these years. This is enough motivation for a player of Lara’s stature and his present tenure as skipper has some success to talk of (mainly in ODI’s , though) including a series whitewash against India and finishing 2nd only to the Aussies in last year’s ICC Champion’s Trophy. They had won the previous version of the tourney in 2004 but failed to stay consistent with winning after that as a series of dismal performances followed that victory.
If leading a champion team in his last World Cup can be the only motivation for Lara as the moment, there are chances that Sachin might just be thinking the same way because he, too would reach the age of 37 by the next world cup in India and has expressed his willingness to keep playing till then. After all, it was a same kind of motivation that helped Imran Khan lift the World Cup in 1992, at the age of 39.
The question, however, is that will Sachin be able to survive as a player till then? Age has already started showing in every move he makes. There are people older than him doing fine in international cricket (Hayden, Gilchrist, Lara, McGrath to name a few) but then they hadn’t started their careers 18 years earlier. Will his body be able to take punches till 2011? If it does, then it would be his 22nd year in international cricket. And, to be realistic, that sounds too far-fetched. Keeping all these factors in mind, I feel re-appointing him as the skipper would not be a good idea in any way because it is uncertain if he at all can survive for more than a year or so in the international arena.

Continuing with Dravid is another option. He , in spite of being 34, is still fit and probably may last till the next World Cup. He may not as well. Uncertainty again. Besides, his classical approach to captaincy is kind of back-dated these days. We need a more agressive, positive and attacking captain, someone like Ganguly 3-4 years back.

There are talks of Ganguly being offered the captaincy again doing the rounds as well. He was and can still make a brilliant captain but the same question again crops up : for how long? He isn’t getting any younger. He has to do a lot of repair work for sure. He has to start from the scratch again by putting the remains of ‘once great’ team together. Who will finish his unfinished work if his career comes to an end after a season or two?

Players like Yuvraj and Sehwag are no doubt talented but on the other hand are already inconsistent performers, even without any additional burden.
Can they be relied upon? Can they handle the burden of leading team India?
The only ‘youngster’ with a calm head, good cricketing brain and leadership qualities, Mohammed Kaif was an indispensable part of the Indian ODI outfit till a few days back. He had captained a World Cup winning Indian junior squad before. But, thanks to Chappell-Dravid super-combo, he is out of favour now. They persisted with a non-performing Sehwag for a year but didn’t hesitate to throw Kaif out of contention for a place in the team after a few failures. It’s the same Mohammed kaif who was being touted by many as the next captaincy material.

Look at today’s South Africans. Boucher, Pollock, Ntini, Nell, Gibbs, Kallis, Hall, Smith - all of them played in the last World Cup but their level of performance has gone up drastically. Why was Pollock not replaced by someone as experienced as Boucher, Gibbs or Kallis after their early exit from the last World Cup? Because they knew making someone young and aggressive the captain will prove beneficial in the long run. Smith, who wasn’t even a regular in the team then, at 21, was appointed as the skipper. Results are in front of everyone.

Therefore, the only way Indian Cricket can move forward is by holding the hand of an energetic, young and dynamic captain. But do we have many options? Do we?

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