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International players must play domestic matches
by Sunil Gavaskar
May 18, 2007
The Indian team is in Bangladesh, and having won the One-Day Series quite comfortably, is looking to sweep the Test series too, and unless something goes drastically wrong, they should do it without too much trouble. Bangladesh’s test record is abysmal to say the least, and that is the real barometer of a team’s progress at the highest level. They may have the odd sparkling performance from an individual, but have not been able to combine as a team and stretch better and experienced opponents. It is here that they need guidance, for not having the experience, they are unable to convert an opportunity into a win. This is where a coach or some senior players have to do the job of helping the captain and the team with tactical inputs. Not that these inputs will work always, but at least they will have the team better prepared.

With computer technology, gaining access to video footage of opponents is a piece of cake. To analyse the footage and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition players is where the coach has to help. He can, with the help of seniors, devise a strategy, but having said that, the team also needs the personnel to make that strategy work, and that’s why a captain or a coach is only as good as the team they are in charge of. If the team is hopeless, then a brilliant skipper or coach can’t do a thing, and if the team is great, then the coach and captain are pretty much superfluous as the players know their jobs and how to get out of tight situations.

That’s why, after doing the Australian job, you wont find Buchanan doing any other international job because he knows he just won’t get the success ratio that he had with the Champion Australian team. That would bring forth a lot of questions, isn’t it? Of whether the coach makes the team or whether the team makes the coach. So far better to bask in the glory and keep dropping hints that this one has approached or that one has come with an offer. If it’s true that he is keen on helping out on the mental aspect side, then the BCCI must approach him to have some sessions with the Indian team before they leave for Australia. Of course, that is if the new Indian coach deems it fit to do so.

The BCCI had sent instructions to the support staff of the Indian team not to wear caps with the Indian logo on it. This was necessitated by the blatant use of the India cap by Ian Frazer, the "bio-mechanist" of the team during the previous coach’s regime. Immediately thereafter, none of the support staff wore the India cap. They wore the sponsors’ cap, which was fine.

Now here in Bangladesh, one sees that the support staff is wearing the India cap, quite in disregard of the BCCI’s instructions. Ravi Shastri, having played for India, can wear the cap, but not the Administrative Manager and the other support staff. What is disturbing is that someone like Dravid who prides himself on wearing the India colours and quite rightly too, has been a silent spectator in all this and has not asked the support staff to wear another cap but not the India cap.

One recalls how the late Vijay Manjrekar made an overseas official take the India tie off when he found him wearing one at a function. The official explained that he was given the tie as a memento, but took it off in respect of Manjrekar’s sentiment. So all Dravid or anybody who has the fierce pride in the India cap has to do is ask the person not entitled to wear the cap to remove it, and I am sure it will be done.

At the risk of repeating myself, have you ever seen a non-Test player from Australia wearing the baggy green Australia cap? Yes the support staff wears the one-day colours, but never the baggy green Test cap. Here, it is the clothing supplier who has to be instructed by the BCCI Secretariat that only the players have to be given the official playing kit, while the training kit can be given to the support staff. It is also important when a blazer is given to the support staff that his designation is mentioned under the logo, so that it is clear that he has got the blazer as part of the team uniform, but as the support staff and not as an India player. The media present in Bangladesh has quite rightly brought this up, and the BCCI has to take the necessary steps to see that it is not repeated, for its a decision taken by the Working Committee and so should not be disregarded by the support staff

India has a lot of cricket ahead of it, some of it quite unnecessary, but now that a commitment has been made, the players will have to go through with it. There is no doubt that only the very fittest will survive at the end of the Asia Cup next year, and hopefully after that, there will be a fair period of rest before the Indian team takes on any engagement. More importantly, it is crucial that the international players are available to play in most of the domestic season, so that it gets enhanced and brings forth new talent for the Indian team.

More Views by Sunil Gavaskar
  Results have been utterly disappointing for New Zealand
  National duty comes first
  One-day game is alive and well
  Dhoni bears the fury of the media
  Spirit of Cricket
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