Monday, June 25, 2007

Ajay Jadeja Next Coach Of India?

I'm not sure what Sanjay Jha has been smoking, but it has made him believe that Ajay Jadeja would make an ideal coach of Team India. At face value, his reasons for suggesting Jadeja seem almost logical:

"He is young, extremely talented, an astute student of the game, possesses excellent communication skills, has proven leadership capabilities and will be on the same page as the players."

"Almost" being the key word in the previous sentence. Leave alone the fact that Ajay Jadeja should not be allowed near a professional cricket team for his involvement in with Mohammad Azharuddin and co, what qualifications does he have to be a successful coach?

This is where I get frustrated by the amount of dribble that the Indian media manages to constantly masquerade as informed opinion. When the entire nation has witnessed the dismal consequences of appointing a coach who is selected on the basis of merely being a star of yesteryear (read Kapil Dev, Ajit Wadekar, Mohinder Amarnath, et al) why do people like Jha (whose writing style is more readable than most Indian journalists) still get off on suggesting incompetent and unqualified candidates?

It's Not About Colour

Everyone cribbing about the propensity to hire a foreign coach forgets one important factor in this issue. That being, the only two Indians who have the appropriate qualifications, and some semblance of experience, are already in the set-up.

Modern sport is as scientific as is the process of performing heart surgery, and the gentleman's game is no different. A cricket coach is not merely someone who communicates well, gets along with the players and has seen a laptop a few years ago. He needs to be up-to-date with the latest and greatest in sports science and have the intellectual and conceptual tools to apply that knowledge in the management of his team.

A coach must have the vision and creativity to assist his captain by offering smart tactical opinions. Tactics are not merely based on hunches or previous experience. The best tactics are often the result of smart analysis of the given data - the ability to find that one anomaly when the picture looks quite normal to the untrained eye.

By offering options such as Jadeja, Jha and his ilk are continuing the Indian media's despicable penchant for catering to the lowest common denominator - sensationalism. I would love to see an Indian coach, worth his salt, in the Indian dressing room. Moreover, I would love to see an Indian media organisation that successfully manages to resist the lure of the quick buck.

Until then, I am quite happy with a foreign coach who knows what he is doing.

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