At the beginning of the summer no one expected England to overwhelm India, but the 4-0 series victory for the hosts has left English fans astonished (is their team really that good?) and fans of former no 1 India furious. With the very distinguished exception of Rahul Dravid among batsmen, and the surprising exception of Praveen Kumar among bowlers, India were profoundly disappointing. MCA’s High Performance Coach, Dr V. V. Giri, a distinguished cricketer and long-time cricket writer, takes a hard look at the state of the Indian Test team, and comes to some harsh conclusions.
India Need a Whip
India cricket team coach Duncan Fletcher faces a dilemma after player power and a lack of discipline helped account for India’s 4-0 series loss to England. Former coach Gary Kirsten allowed the senior players to run the team. So did John Wright, few years before.
The general consensus now is that Fletcher was appointed on condition that he continue with the same coaching style as Gary Kirsten. The senior players wanted that, they had wanted Gary to stay on, but when that didn’t happen, they wanted a like-for-like replacement, Gary had allowed the senior players and superstars to run the show and do their own thing. But then the team arrived in England totally unprepared, there was no dedicated approach and no hunger.
India now need a much firmer hand, superstars or not. Fletcher is now “between a rock and a hard place. If he really did agree to go with the Kirsten approach, he can’t change now. The situation is crying out for more control and a firm hand, but if he does flex his muscles, the players won’t like it and it is unclear whether the board will sanction a different approach,
India could not compete with an England team run by team director Andy Flower. Flower takes a hard line, he’s meticulous on fitness and there are no short cuts as he sets very high standards. The players and management can either buy into it or not be part of the team. He runs a very tight ship and the players have bought into it.
As Kepler Wessels put it, “The England players are technically very good at the moment in all three disciplines of the game. Due to their superior fitness and technical expertise, they have become used to winning, which has made them mentally strong and ruthless in their pursuit of excellence.”
India are in dire straits at the moment. They need a coach of Greg Chappell caliber, or in short, they need a “Whip”.