Ask a Manchester United fan about who would have been fit to replace Sir Alex at the top and I am sure Ryan Giggs would be the name often mentioned. When asked the Proteas who they wanted as a coach for AB Devilliers’s Men, and they all said Gary Kirsten. So does this concept of yesteryear’s legends really have an impact on the dressing room? Would they be able to understand the youngistaan, especially where aggressive play has become the norm? We are all aware of what former Chelsea man Roberto Di Matteo did for Chelsea in 2011-12 season as a coach when they brought home the Champions League Trophy which even managers like Carlo Ancelloti and Andreas Vilas Boas could not manage when serving at the top with Chelsea. What was so special about him? He was neither a genius nor the chosen one, then what exactly worked for him that did not work for the rest? I think there is a very simple answer to all of this. A man who has spent time in the dressing room of a club/country, knows exactly the kind of culture and the mentality which the players have. He understands what the boys want and how to deal with them. Be it handling ego clashes within the team, motivating the players, handling the media, it all becomes a ‘Been there, Done it’ scenario. Planning the way ahead in a way to suit the culture becomes so much easy or rather a second behaviour.
So when I read about the recent rumours about Dada expressing his desire to coach Dhoni’s men, I could not help but smile. As a true fan of Dada, I have always longed to see him in the thick of things and have wished that he returns to the game to write the final chapter, the chapter where he will be holding the cup, if not as a player than as a coach. The cup which the holy trinity of ‘Sachin, Dravid and Ganguly’ always worked so hard to win, while only Sachin managed to get his hands on it. Yes, I am talking about the dream to watch Dada back in the dressing room and this time to complete some unfinished business.
I don’t think Dada needs any introduction or would need anyone to testify for his potential as the game’s icon. For someone with even a little knowledge of cricket, would have heard this Tiger’s name at least once. I personally believe that with his experience and knowledge of the game, he can replicate what Gary Kirsten did to Team India, prepare them for the final showdown i.e the World Cup 2019. We are all in awe of our boys who have brought home the cup after 28 years ending the long wait and the way they managed themselves Down Under after being written off very early in the VB tri-series. But what we fail to realise is that on the path of preparation during past 6 years now, if I were to include preparation for the 2011 World Cup, we have got the likes of Virat Kohli, a sensation in himself, who would be on the top of the wish-list of any team today only to be taught to control his arrogance, Ajju Rahane with a lot more under his belt that he can contribute towards having a settled middle order, R. Ashwin, who has seen his ups and downs but was fabulous at WC’15 and whom we want to contribute more often and hunt as a pair with Jaddu, much alike our own special duo of Jumbo and Bhajji. Suresh Raina, who has come off his previous not too great performances but has shown the potential to finish off games and is a much needed weapon in the armoury of Team India.
It is a high pressure job to coach the Boys in Blue, because the game is more than a religion for us and yes we mean business when it comes to watching the men in Blue battle it out on the field. More than just that, this job now needs to deal with our soon to become captain of all forms of cricket Virat ‘Arrogant’ Kohli, whose recent statements in the press have undone his good work of the past few years. There is definitely a course that he needs to attend on humility but I am sure the men in business will take care of that. So if Dada has to take over, it would mean returning to the same dressing room, and handling a high pressure job is not something new for one of the most successful captain that India has ever had. It is just not about how well he understands the game but the kind of respect he generates from the cricketers, which would help Indian Cricket in the long run. A hero for millions, I am sure that the boys will learn a lot under him, especially to be bold and to always go for the kill. With due respect to Duncan Fletcher, I feel what Indian Team needs today really is someone like Sourav Ganguly or Rahul Dravid or Anil Kumble, who more than just being legends, understand the roots of Indian cricket and can take these boys towards the era similar to what the Aussies enjoyed under John Buchanan where they simply dominated world cricket.
The BCCI has been tackling a similar problem as the English FA regarding their nation’s citizens capable of being at the top of the coaching staff for the national team. For decades this has been a debate if an Indian is fit to coach the national side and with whatever chances they have got, it has not been a pleasant experience except for Anshuman Gaekwad who was instrumental in the time from 1996-99. While the English FA has decided to go ahead with Roy Hodgson, an Englishman himself, if the BCCI will finally take a bold decision to back Dada remains a big question.
When the topic of a legend who has coached his national team and failed badly comes, Diego Maradona’s example would be at the most talking point for sure. This possibly could be an argument against what I proposed earlier and I choose to defend that by quoting Margaret Fuller here that, “Nature provides exceptions to every rule”.
So will Dada be ever able to repeat Luis Felippe Scolari’s feat who never won the World Cup as a player, but returned as a coach of the national team to lead them to a world cup victory in 2002?
Not far are the days when the entire Eden Gardens would Cheer ‘Dada!! Dada!!’ again, when everyone will stay glued to their T.V sets to catch a glimpse of the Royal Bengal Tiger whirl his t-shirt again from the Lord’s balcony having brought back home the cup once again, when again people will believe that the future of Indian Cricket is in safe hands!
This article is an edit of the one published by Pratik Gosar himself on sportskeeda.com on 14th August,2012.