All good things to those who wait …

We’ve got a Board that justifiably claims to have a monopoly over the receipts of the game. The BCCI realises that Indian eyes on tv sets are what make Ricky Ponting’s Australia Yellow or Rahul Dravid’s India Blue. Without us, they’d all be (if at all) in white.

We are the colour of money.

Sometimes tho, one wonders about their functioning. Like this whole coach selection process. Even if one ignores the confounding delay, whats with this latest twist?

Its been over two months since India’s exit from the World Cup and about that long since Greg Chappell’s contract was terminated which we knew all along was until the World Cup anyway. And yet, many committees later, and with all its riches, the Board could not get two men together?

Maybe pages and blogs will be written about how its yet another sign of a malfunctioning BCCI that thinks from its rear. Because, you see, thats where its wallet is. And hence , any sign of cricket intellect is asking for too much.

I’ll try and reason otherwise tho, because I actually think there is a bit of method to this madness.
I think there was a bit of a debate out there in that little committee.

The 1986 Martin Scorcese film The Colour Of Money is all about a former Pool player (Fast “The Hustler” Eddie) who comes back to take on a young protege.

I think yesterday’s debate and indeed the one to follow is about whether we need young proteges or a Eddie, the Hustler.

First about the one name we know. Graham Ford.
Natal – South Africa – Kent. Importantly, and its an impressive CV stat – Kevin Peitersen’s coach in South Africa before he (KP, that is) moved to England. Then, a pretty good run again as South Africa’s coach. But the next big thing, as Director of Cricket in Kent (coach ?), a growing reputation as a wonderful talent spotter. A guy with the ability to nurture skills. If you looking for lots of young proteges, this is the kind of man you’d like.

Next, about the unknown name – at least at the moment of writing. The one that everyone assumes is Arjuna Ranatunga. The Hustler.
Fast Eddie says in the film : ” You gotta have two things to win. You gotta have brains and you gotta have balls. Now, you got too much of one and not enough of the other. ”
If India chooses the specialist coaches for disciplines option – Venky Prasad and Robin Singh – then Arjuna Ranatunga is the Fast Eddie they are looking for and the one that, they believe, is the answer. Its not about his skills. People will be quick to point out – we’re poor at running between the wickets and we’re shoddy feilders and we chose Ranatunga ? But I don’t think thats what the guys in that room in Chennai will be looking for. (And I’ll ignore that even tho he only used to amble singles, Ranatunga still has a 77ish strike rate in ODIs). The idea is of a tactical performance manager. The guy who knew what it took to get his guys to win. If if comes down to presentations, thats probably what Ranatunga will and can present. As Fast Eddie says, Pool Excellence is *not* about excellent pool. As a matter of fact , his record as ODI captain is pretty average (89 wins and 95 losses in 193 games). Whats important is where he got Sri Lanka from the 1988 when he took over to the time that he gave up well after a World Cup win.

All told then, I don’t think it will matter too much about how Graham Ford or Arjuna Ranatunga do at the interview on Saturday.

I think whats going to decide it is what approach India chose to take going forward. And will reflect how satisfied they are with the resources they have at their disposal for the next few seasons.

Its worth taking a bit of time over decisions like that.

Update : Just to make me look really clever comes this piece of news that its not Arjuna Ranatunga at all, but John Emburey !!!!

Now how do I make the BCCI look clever ?

10 thoughts on “All good things to those who wait …

  1. Indian journalists tend to make fools out of readers more so in the case of cricket journalists and I can’t believe you have fallen for this again! Will you never learn? Even after the incidents of the last couple of months where the mysterious “source close to X say” mania gripped the serious and tabloid presses you seem to have learnt nothing. I am disappointed….

  2. Hiya Prabu ..

    Come on……. – the idea was great tho huh ?

    But I’m curious about the “I can’t believe you have fallen for this again! Will you never learn?” …

    When did I fall in the similar trap the last time ?

  3. The “you” was a generalization of people who believe in cricket journalist. Not you (sfx) in particular. Sorry about that.

  4. Naah – pls don’t be …

    More than a bit embarassing anyways after constructing what I thot was a masterstroke from Sunny Gavaskar about Arjuna …

  5. This from the cricinfo article listing Emburey as the actual Gavaskar choice ..

    “However, he hasn’t tasted much success as a coach. He was player-coach and then coach at Northamptonshire between 1996 and 1998 before being sacked with a year of his contract remaining. In 2001 he signed to coach Berkshire, a minor county, with the intention of emigrating to Australia at the end of the summer, but on the eve of the season he was appointed as Middlesex’s third coach in as many seasons, taking over from old team-mate Mike Gatting.

    In six years he struggled with a side in transition, bringing in some distinctly average players as well, and at the end of 2006 the county were relegated from the top flight in both the Championship and National League. In 2007 Middlesex brought in Richard Pybus to coach with Emburey moving to the more hands-off role as Director of Cricket. ” ..


  6. I think Whatmore lost out because of the decision to bowl in that test match. While that may not be the main reason, but that definitely contributed to him being nudged out.

    As to Cricinfo reporting it was SMG, it is again Indian press’ favorite pastime – speculating and passing their ideas as news. Here’s what PTI says

    “It was speculated that the unnamed foreigner was either former England coach Duncan Fletcher or former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga whose name was reportedly brought up in the meeting by Sunil Gavaskar one of the three formere captains in the Search Committee”

    From this everyone has concluded that SMG brought up Emburey’s name!

    My guess is that players spoke to Murali Kartik and other players in the county scene and recommended his name to the BCCI just as they did with Graham Ford. I wish I had a news site, I could pass this as news claiming it is speculated news!

  7. Another classic case of talking-thru-their-arses

    Chennai, Jun 5 (PTI) Former England coach Duncan Fletcher was the unnamed foreign candidate who has been invited for discussions with the BCCI Search Committee here on June 9, Cricket Board sources said here today.
    The sources, however, dismissed speculation about Arjuna Ranatunga, saying the former Sri Lankan captain was not in the race at all despite his name being suggested by Sunil Gavaskar in the meeting of the Search Committee in Bangalore yesterday.

    They also said South African Graham Ford, the favourite among the senior members of the Indian team, was most likely to be appointed.

    The souces said that giving Ford the Indian job will also help in gaining the vote of South African vote for BCCI President Sharad Pawar in ICC Presidential elections.

    “The point that weighs in Ford’s favour was that Pawar requires South Africa’s vote to become the next International Cricket Council President (ICC),” the sources said.

    Pawar has already said that a South African should be the interim ICC President following the death of Percy Sonn, whose tenure was extended till 2009. PTI

  8. Its almost like the “reporters” having nothing to write that they start adding stories from here and there and add their theories to it and then blame it all on that mysterious figure called sources-close-to-the-BCCI. I actually have a theory on who that guy is – it is the tea-wallah next to the Chepauk stadium who delivered tea during the meeting.

  9. all I am saying is, why not Maninder Singh? He speaks English, he bats like God, bowled like Bedi on “speed”, had no fielding skills to speak of, played with most if not all of the current players, is a certified coach and knows how to go on a high..

    All the attributes of the man to lead India to the next World Cup.

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