Monday, December 17, 2007


England failed to qualify for the forthcoming edition of Euro and so on expected lines, the coach Steve McClaren was fired. The failure came even when the English team boasted the likes of Beckham, Gerrard and Lampard in the line-up. The Football Association was under pressure to find a replacement and a number of names were mentioned. But the FA offered the top job to Italian Fabio Cappello.

India failed to get past the first round of the cricket World Cup losing to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The solitary win came against Bermuda who can’t claim to have any kind of cricketing pedigree. The team had the presence of players like Sachin, Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. As expected, the high profile coach Greg Chappell quit the job. After a lot of near misses, the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri decided to entrust the coaching job to Gary Kirsten.

The English FA did not have the reason to feel embarrassed like the way the BCCI did when Graham Ford decided to let go the job after expressing interest. Of course, Scolari turned down an earlier offer, something that can comfort the coach hunters of the Indian cricket team. The choice of Gary Kirsten was surprising to say the least. Kirsten was a tough opener with a more than a decent record, but he has no previous coaching experience. It was strange when the well-respected Dav Whatmore was not even called for an interview. It was pretty clear that the choice of Kirsten was largely the handiwork of Sunil Gavaskar.

Cappello has won major trophies with all the clubs that he has managed across Europe. There is no doubt over the credentials of the Italian. The only problem that the new England coach might face is the English language.

The shock elimination of England at the qualifying stage made the FA look for a genuine coach and not someone who appealed to the personal biases and prejudices of a few individuals. There is a lesson here for the BCCI.

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