Ajit Wadekar is credited with enormous cricket successes as an Indian captain in 1971 and later as a coach in the early 90s. In my opinion, he was simply lucky to have the right players that guided India to victory. I am not doubting his talent as a cricketer because frankly neither have I seen him play nor have his exploits been discussed by those who have. In a recent interview, he expressed strong reservations against a foreign coach. This was in light of Gary Kirsten being appointed as India’s coach. Some of his statements against a foreign coach are downright hilarious.
I do not know exactly why we are so obsessed with having a foreign coach only. My objection is that these foreign coaches do not know the Indian culture. They do not know the psyche of the Indian players and their behaviour patterns. We are so different in many ways. We speak different languages. So it is always difficult for a foreigner to coach the Indian players.
Well, I never knew the Indian coach had to be well versed in doing the Bhangra or Kathakali as warmup exercises before every match. Of course, knowing Indian culture would involve touching the coach’s feet before heading out to the field, right? And being an Indian gives us an uncanny ability or rather the inside information on Indian players’ behavioral patterns. Of course, as Indians we all know why Venkatesh Prasad has to sit down when he pees. And yup, Ajit Wadekar spoke all 15 official languages of India.
They have so much experience and they would like to do something for the country again. I mean the BCCI can always get a good Indian player to coach our own team. I do not understand why the BCCI is so keen on having a foreign coach.
I’m sure they want to give something back but you see, we rather win matches than satisfy emotional obligations of veterans. But why let insignificant things like winning matches get in the way, right? After all, we seem to be satisfied in only participating at the Olympics. As Klusner would say, no one died.
Of course, they make his task much easier. But then it has become a pattern now. You have got the main coach, then a physio, a trainer, a masseur, a doctor, a computer analyst, a bowling coach, a batting coach, a fielding coach, and what not. So I really wonder what the main coach is there for.Maybe just to supervise everything! But it has become a fashion to carry a caravan like this with the team.
Oh yes, of course we must carry this ‘caravan’ around. Remember, we didn’t hire Superman as a coach to do everything. I’m sorry, what did you say, Mr. Wadekar? You trained, massaged, treated, analyzed all players on your own when you were coach? What, you even helped teach Kumble how not to spin and yet take wickets and taught Tendulkar that weird croch-down movement each time he comes to bat, and taught Jadeja those diving catches? Well, I’m sorry; I take my words back. But BCCI board members are not ‘caravan members’ for foreign tours, right?
Of course, you can’t make the Indians absolutely extraordinary fielders. You cannot do that overnight. It takes some time. But Robin Singh has been doing a fine job and our fielding seems to have improved. Our bowling, too, appears to have improved. And then we are playing as a team. So why do you need a coach and that too a foreigner?
There you have it, scientific proof that the Indian race cannot be extraordinary fielders. Vivek, you better eat your words now that Mr. Wadekar has spoken. We are better off concentrating on our batting and bowling and hope the other teams hits the ball right into our hands. And now that we seemed to have improved thanks to Robin Singh, it is time to fire him. Of course, we are going to retain this well-trained-in-fielding players for at least 10 years, right?
More importantly, when he toured India in 1996 he (Gary Kirsten) did not have a good opinion about our country, which is developing, about our people and about the infrastructure we had then. But so much has changed for better in India now. So why do you want a guy with no coaching experience at all and with a somewhat prejudiced mind against our country and our people?
Yeah! How dare Kirsten criticize our state of affairs and infrastructure. Every Indian knows we have excellent stadium facilities and treat spectators like God. So how dare Kirsten not know Atithi Devo Bhava. See, he doesn’t know Indian culture. Wait a minute, he was our guest, right? Hmmmm. Also, if “so much has changed for better” then it does mean that Kirsten was not off the mark when he did not have a good opinion back in 1996, right? Nope, he is a goora so he is prejudiced.
Forget Gary Kirsten, forget any other foreigner, I would have preferred any one of these two (Mohinder Amarnath and Sandeep Patil). I can never think of any foreign coach simply because I am just not in favour of one.
So there you have it; the entire summary of the interview in two sentences. Why isn’t Gary Kirsten a good choice for an Indian coach? Repeat after me, because Ajit Wadekar is not in favor of a foreigner; even if he might be a better choice in terms of merit.
Of course knowing BCCI, they definitely might be enamored by the magic of success that seemingly only foreign coaches can bring. so in that case, Ajit Wadekar might even be right. That would be sad.