Monday 11 June 2007

Welcome, Graham Ford

Dear Graham,

Welcome to India.

In the midst of some very important businesses like arranging one day matches in Ireland, Scotland, Timbuktu etc and deciding who (and who not) should telecast them, BCCI has finally managed time to appoint you as the national coach.

Your appointment should have been a straightforward decision, once Dave Whatmore was out of the fray. (Don’t ask why he was out, in first place). But trust BCCI to add twists, turns and intrigue to a fairly simple plot. It is an indication of things to come, or perhaps, an ingenious way to prepare you for all that.

Welcome to the world of BCCI.

Frankly, Indians know very little about you, except that you succeeded Bob Woolmer as South Africa’s coach in 1999. I believe it bodes well, for, your appointment will be viewed with some optimism, some curiosity, even apprehension, but not with prejudice.

More than your success with the South African team, it was heartening to read, that you are known to work with individual players, helping them sort their flaws - both technical and temperamental. There is no dearth of such players in the current Indian side, who would need your advice, coercion and both. Even outside the team, your will find players like Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, Venugopal Rao, Balaji, who have lately fallen out of favour with the establishment.

There are other issues, which will keep your hands full.

Injuries to the lead bowlers like Munaf Patel and Sreesanth has been a concern in recent times. Dilip Vengsarkar has more than once expressed displeasure over these injuries, considering the busy season ahead.

A few youngsters need to be tagged with a ‘Handle With Care’ label. Ishant Sharma, Manoj Tiwary and Piyush Chawla are all in their teens. Their success in international cricket depends as much on how you, in conjunction with the selectors, handle them in next few years, as it does on their own ability to adapt to the rigors of international cricket. There are more than couple of promising players in domestic circuit and it would do no harm absolutely, if they make it to test grade.

You are also likely to preside over the retirements of VVS Laxman, Ganguly, Tendulkar and perhaps Dravid. I can’t think of any era in Indian cricket that boasted of such a fine middle order. Add Anil Kumble to that list and you have the core of Indian team of last decade or so, making way for the next generation. Your challenge will be to put in place a succession plan, la good corporate entity, well before these greats make a final bow.

All these are long-term concerns. Some issues merit your urgent attention. The loss of form to Sehwag, Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan is a huge setback. They are proven match winners and have anything between 5 to 10 years of good cricket still left in them. You must ensure they are not lost to Indian cricket.

Finally, you won’t find a better time to start your assignment. No one expects you to take India to dizzying heights, as they did from your predecessors – Chappell, Wright and Kapil. After team India’s debacle in the recent world cup, expectations are at an all time low. The good part is that, there seems to be a reality check from the fans and sponsors alike. It may be temporary, but it argurs only well for you.

They say, India is the spinach of travel destinations - you may not always like it, but it is probably good for you. I hope you are one of those who like their spinach. I also hope you enjoy your stay in India, and importantly, during your tenure, the players enjoy their game too.

For, when that happens, it will make a beeline for success.

Welcome once again, Graham, and all the very best.

Truly

Cricket Guru

7 comments:

granderBharata said...

lol

hmm and he rejects India

why come along for the job andthen reject it to stay at kent???

Golandaaz said...

to negotiate a better deal with Kent

Godfather said...

I think, he rightly decided to stay with Kent.. I dont understand why BCCI offered 1 year job to Ford..? Did they have not faith in him...?

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