As the quest for the next Indian Idol gains momentum in Sony TV, an even bigger quest is on for the Indian cricket fans. Who will be the next Indian coach. It all began with the great Sir IVA. Richards offering unsolicited advice to the Indian team soon after their shameless exit from the World Cup. Then Chappell was rumoured to continue as coach or atleast head the NCA for a new term. Chappell managed to run away with his life.
Ravi Shastri was convinced to shoulder the mantle temporarily for the Bangladesh tour. The funny thing was that a bowling and fielding coach were announced for this all important tour. India crossed the eastern border with three coaches for three departments. One would only expect that Venatesh Prasad or Robin would be named the coach at the end of the tour. That was not to happen. BCCI is like Rajastan State Bumper lottery. The odds of luck overweighs any logic.
A casual talk by the BCCI raised Dave Whatmore's hopes to Himalayan heights only to ruin his current stint with the Bongs. Afterall India had to avenge for their WC defeat. They took it on him, poor Aussie.
Kapil Dev, a patriot that he is, intervened to question the selection of a foreign coach. "Whatmore? Who is he?", he exclaimed. Even Sunil Gavaskar was quoted to prefer a Desi coach albeit Arjuna Ranatunga from the island nation. One day or the other India has to invade that country for the atrocities they commit against our Tamil brethren.
Suddenly, a new name popped up. Graham Ford quickly topped Google search list for no one in India knew about him. He happened to be the Coaching Director at Kent. Remember, that is where they picked up John Wright. Thanks to Dravid's recommendation.
Finally Graham Ford was selected over John Emburey after a one-hour presentation at Park Sheraton. It seems Sharad Pawar and team were gobbling up their dinner during Emburey's presentation. They just didn't pay attention to whatever he said.
Graham Ford like any IT guy attended the interview for fun. He decided not to risk his life for limelight. He probably remembered his successor, Bob Woolmer.
The search is still on. The voice of Swadesi's louder than ever. Who will BCCI name as the next Indian Coach? Will it be the Chinese guy who is likely to become the Indian Idol.
If I were them, I would choose a respected Desi with proven track record. Sandeep Patil comes to mind immediately. If he is not available, my next choice is Bharath Reddy. Although he has played only a handful of matches for India, Barath Reddy enjoys a good relationship with several youngsters in the current Indian team. Bharath Reddy was the Sports Director for Chemplast's Jolly Rovers team which had big names playing in the local divisions. Current national players including Dinesh Kartick, Harbajan Singh and Dinesh Mongia regard him as a great coach. Hemang Badani, L. Balaji and Harvinder Singh have spoken highly of him. Sanmar Group chairman N. Sankar praises him for finding new talent for his club. Several Tamilnadu players including Jesuraj Rajamani (my favourite for this season) and S. Badrinath (who was almost there) attribute a lot of their success to him. More than that Bharat Reddy and Abdul Jabber successfully ran cricket camps in Madras following Brijesh Patel. He is also a close friend of Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev. Rahul Dravid,having played a lot of cricket himself in Chennai for India Cements, will surely have a lot of respect for Bharath reddy. He has also served the BCCI as the South Zone talent resources development officer in 2002-03. He will be able to identify new talent that Vengsarkar claims not to exist.
The most important reason is he is Shriya Reddy's father and also my relative of sorts.