Making a break from its policy of engaging foreign coaches and experts, the BCCI for the first time has appointed three former India greats, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman on the board’s newly-constituted advisory committee to guide it and the national team on various issues. The BCCI decision to engage the best native gurus does not have a parallel in other cricketing nations. These freshly-retired cricketers are storehouses of cricketing knowledge. Anil Kumble is already heading BCCI’s technical committee, and Rahul Dravid is also likely to be on board. In the past, whenever we did well in overseas tournaments or in the World Cup, we never had legends backing us. In 1983, we won the World Cup without a coach! In 2003, John Wright was the coach but not an imposing personality. In 2011, Gary Kirsten was a back-office person. But times are changing and perfection and precision alone makes the difference on the cricket field. So, the BCCI move is laudable.
The advisory committee’s priority will be to help Team India address the challenges of playing overseas. Probably we should have greener pitches at home to train youngsters. Bowling edges need a lot of sharpening. The itinerary could also be tweaked to make India play more matches abroad to gain more global exposure. The BCCI has done its job, and now it is over to the legends to do theirs. They have the best cricketing brains, but they must be cautious in handling the team which consists of ‘lesser mortals,’ so to say. The legends will have to adapt themselves to the mindset of the younger players and modulate them, keeping their egos aside. Unfortunate episodes in the past, like the one with ‘Guru Greg’, should serve as pointers and be avoided.
The rich experience and great skills of Sachin, Sourav and Laxman put together can turn out to be a lethal combination. If Ganguly was a good bat, he was also a shrewd captain and a team man too. He had brought into Indian cricket the bonhomie of Maidan culture which is so evident in football. Sachin will be there to pass on his gifts. Laxman’s patience in Test matches will be worth emulating by youngsters, who at times cannot distinguish between a 20-20 tie and a Test match and end up throwing wickets like ninepins.
The BCCI also has a crucial role to play in allowing these legends enough room and freedom to do their job. These greats must have a say in selection. Petty politics in picking up squads on regional lines should be avoided. Being a cricket-fanatic nation, Indians will need to have the patience and cannot expect changes overnight. These legends are performers not magicians. But all said and done, the nation will keenly watch the greats perform as teachers, always remembering the famous legend about Fab Four: “Sachin is God, Sourav is God on the off side, VVS Laxman is God of the fourth innings, while the real Gods are in the temple. When the temple doors are closed, they are behind the Wall (Dravid)!”
Pay and Park
We hope everything goes well with the plan of the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) to introduce pay parking at 19 notified locations in the city in the next few weeks. The idea obviously is to establish some order on the roads and lanes of the city. Free parking has only caused chaos. Some drivers misuse free parking to park their vehicles for hours. Other drivers park or stop their vehicles behind the parked vehicles narrowing the width of the road for moving vehicles. Periodic locking of wheels by police and private agencies has not worked. Pay parking will end this problem because there will be men of private contractors at the location to stop morning-to-evening and double parking. Parking charges must be fixed according to length of stay in order to provide parking to maximum number of drivers. If the length of stay is not regulated, drivers with urgent needs would get squeezed out by drivers with less urgent needs. Pay parking will also mean less time wasted by drivers hunting for parking space on busy roads. However, the danger from enforcing pay parking at notified locations is that drivers, having been used to free parking, might try to find alternatives and park their vehicles in non-notified lanes and make life miserable for residents, storekeepers, customers and drivers using them. The responsibility is entirely of the CCP authorities to stop the transfer of chaos from one part to another happening.