Home grown coaches grow great teams too | Sunday Observer

Home grown coaches grow great teams too

Playing like Red Indians of old like in comics--- shooting arrows and savaging the cowboys--- the Indian cricketers playing an exemplary and devastating brand of cricket not seen for a long time completely and convincingly outplayed the South Africans in a Three-Test series in India.

The Indians under head coach also a former all rounder and captain Ravi Shastri and led magnificently with rare old charm by the run scoring machine Virat Kholi made the Proteas look no side as they wrapped up the series two by an innings with more than days to spare.

We need not reiterate that when Tests are penciled for five days and if rain prevents play or a Test is finished inside five days that financial losses have to be borne by the host team and also TV sponsors lose big money having to curtail advertising.

The games ended early because the visitors just capitulated under the all round fire power of the Indians on home territory without offering a semblance of fighting qualities that was associated with their teams of the past.

Test cricket, which is what the game is all about, was given step motherly treatment by the sheiks of the International Cricket Council of the game now in Dubai giving weight and more importance and going on their knees to promote and give centre stage to the money flooding 50-overs and T20 cricket.

But from the moment the International Cricket Council announced a Test Championship it gave oxygen and brought to life to what the game of cricket is all about - TEST CRICKET – which at one time was gasping and looked destined to die.

From the moment the championships was announced most teams showed interest in the longer version of the game and began preparing in earnest to win the tag as Test Cricket Champions.

It was no different with the Indians who have become a Delta force in all forms of the game in the recent past. With not performing to expectations in the World Cup, the Indians are now eyeing the Test Championships which they are keen to win.

It is customary for teams playing in the World Cup and not winning it to make wholesale changes including the Head Coach and the Captain being made the fall guys or the scapegoats. When the Indians flew back empty handed after the World Cup it looked as though a few would be on the chopping block including the Head Coach and the Captain. But for the good of their game that did not happen although critics were baying for their blood.

The South Africans it must be stated flew in to England under captain Faf de Plessis hoping to lay their hands on the World Cup which has never been theirs in their checkered cricketing history. But they flipped and flopped and dived out much to the displeasure and frustration of their supporters.

And on the tour of India they wrung the changes and brought with them some promising cricketers with high hopes that they would deliver. But that was not so as the results prove and it has earned the ire of their supporters back home and the writer dares to mention that captain du Plessis neck is on the block.

And back to the Indians especially Rohit Sharma who was a dashing opening batsman in the one-day bashers, pushed into facing the new ball for the first time in Test cricket showed what he can do in limited over cricket, he can do better in the longer version of the game.

Opening the batting with another debutant Agarwal, the duo stood up to the menacing pace of the South African pacemen, especially Kagiso Rabada and put big runs on the board which helped the Indians get near the 500 run mark with other batsmen, especially Kholi chipping in with big scores.

Sharma enjoyed his new post with twin hundreds in the First Test and a double hundred in the Final Test. Sharma could not have asked for more. He has all the attacking strokes and the defensive ones when needed. His hitting of the ball for sixes was a treat to watch. He has now concreted his place in the team.

Skipper Kholi who has an unquenchable thirst for runs, quenched it once again scoring heavily and in the final Test hitting his best ever score in his career an unbeaten 254. When he gets into the run making act his concentration is unwavering and the many telling strokes he displays is amazing and from the book.

In addition, his captaincy is a lesson to others of his ilk. He is now long enough in the seat of captain and leads by example and is able to squeeze out the best in every member for the good of the team.

A captain is good as his team, it is said. But what stands out in Kholi is that he can get the best out of a mediocre member in his team. That is the hallmark of a better than the best captain. Kholi gets 100 per cent and more from his team mates who show their fondness for him by performing from out of their skins to help him lead them to what the bottom line is VICTORY.

In head coach Ravi Shastri they have found one who can get the team to perform. And with the team jelling and delivering, it has knocked into a cocked hat the craving for a foreign head coach.

Home grown and proven coaches with the right credentials can do better than what foreigners can do and Shastri has proved it not only to India but the world as well. Let other countries follow.

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