Sunday, June 03, 2007


Last night, a news channel-CNNIBN discussed whether the Indian cricket team needs a foreign coach or a native. These debates have really hogged the airtime as well as paper space, not to mention net space. Such debates have not really taken place ever since when a certain person of foreign origin was set to rule over our destinies. It is altogether another matter that the same person today wields supreme power, without owning any responsibility.

England went through the same routine when the coach for the football team was to be considered. Sven Goran Erikkson was appointed the coach. He is from Sweden and not from England. By all accounts, his tenure was much scrutinized and the Swede was also embroiled in a scandal. When he failed to deliver at the World Cup, the English F.A decided to end the contract. The FA has given the job to Steve McClaren. Many national football teams hire foreigners to improve their fortunes. Many also fall by the wayside once the results are less than impressive.

A section of the media and a few players as well as some of the Board officials appears to be enamoured with the idea of having a foreign coach. It is alleged that an Indian does not have the expertise and the experience to coach the team. Much was made over the laptop glitch that was faced by Mohinder Amarnath the last time when interviews were conducted for the post of the coach of the Indian team.

Every time the issue of coach comes up, there are parallels drawn with the Australian team. John Buchanan did not play at the international level and the new coach Tim Nielsen did never appear for the Australian team. Why are we so fascinated with the Australian model when we are radically different from the Aussies as far as our sporting culture is concerned?

In the whole issue the role of the ‘superstars’ is stinking to say the least. It is puzzling to hear that some of the players are calling for a foreign coach. Wonder what Ponting and company make out of this!

In my humble opinion, it matters very little whether the coach is Indian or not. What matters are the results and the outcome. To paraphrase Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader, the colour of the cat may be black or white but what is important that it should catch the mice.

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