What is the role of a cricket coach?

Giri Subramanian Roar Guru

By Giri Subramanian, Giri Subramanian is a Roar Guru


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    The role of a cricket coach is most underrated and also most overrated at the same time by the fans.

    Recently I was watching a talk show where this topic was discussed extensively. The panel on the show were Brian Lara, Sir Vivian Richards and Ian Chappell.

    All three of them legends of the game and they unanimously agreed that coaches are at the international level should basically be good man managers.

    They also mentioned that the name “Coach” should be changed to something more relevant.

    Even though that kind of simplifies the role, I think there is some merit to that line of thinking.

    Sourav Ganguly recently on another TV show brought up an interesting point. India toured Ireland and England in 2007 without a coach.

    The Indian team manager for that tour was Chandu Borde who was already 72 years old at that time. India went on to win both the series, first against South Africa in Ireland, followed by a Test series win in England.

    The Indian team was experienced and contained players of the calibre of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Kumble and Zaheer Khan.

    The team was full of legends and the role of the coach here would have been just to help to manage and help the captain with the strategy for the games.

    Coaching in the international level does not exist. If a player needs coaching at the international level, he should not be there in the first place.

    So would it be more appropriate to call them consultant or Advisor or Strategist instead? Probably yes, but again I am not sure what the position is called is that important compared to having a clear understanding of the role.

    There are lots of fans who blame the coach for the poor performance of the batsmen or the bowlers but again the role of an international coach is not to teach players to bowl or bat.

    That level of coaching is done at the grassroots level and should stay there. Once the player is representing his country, he is expected to do the basics right.

    If he is not, the coaches at the preliminary levels need to questioned.

    This does not mean that coaches are not needed at the international level. An international team can be full of legends but they need a good manager and also someone who helps the captain strategize ahead of the game.

    A manager/coach is extremely important in a professional setup and cannot be completely ignored. You can never understate the role of coaches like Dave Whatmore, Bob Woolmer and Gary Kirsten and their contributions to their respective teams during their tenure.

    Managing a team full of legends is very important in cricket and both the above coaches did that. Gary Kirsten helped India to a world cup win and achieve No.1 rankings in Test cricket. I don’t think Gary ever had to teach Sachin Tendulkar how to bat or Zaheer and Kumble how to bowl.

    The success of these two coaches was to effectively manage the teams they were involved in and offer support to their respective team captains.

    Dave Whatmore converted the Sri Lankan team into world beaters. Bob Woolmer managed a mercurial Pakistan team full of legends effectively which none of his successors were able to do.

    All the above coaches I mentioned understood their role and their boundaries. A coach’s role should never interfere with that of the captain and a coach should never have a say in what the captain does on the field.

    The cricket coach role is no different that coaches at any other sport. A player at the international level cannot be coached and that should not be in the national coach’s job description.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • June 15th 2017 @ 4:34pm
      bigbaz said | June 15th 2017 @ 4:34pm | ! Report

      Coach ; The thing Lehmann throws his players under.

      • June 16th 2017 @ 7:37am
        Pope Paul VII said | June 16th 2017 @ 7:37am | ! Report

        gold biggy

    • June 15th 2017 @ 5:17pm
      AGordon said | June 15th 2017 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

      this article makes no sense. In effect, the author is saying, “once you get to international level, you can’t learn anything because you’re the finished article”. This is simply wrong thinking.

      Ask any Test player from ANY nation and they will tell you they never stop learning and they constantly seek to improve aspects of their game. Name me one Test fast bowler playing at present who would not relish having a yarn with DK Lilllee or a spinner who would give anything for a chat with Warnie or Murali? This is coaching and that’s why there are so many of these people offering their services around the world.

      Yes, the “coach” most be a people manager but this does not stop them from making sure issues in technique, fitness, temprement, etc aren’t addressed. This is coaching and is still as critical to the game as it has been for the past 100 plus years

      • Roar Guru

        June 15th 2017 @ 11:02pm
        Giri Subramanian said | June 15th 2017 @ 11:02pm | ! Report

        I am not saying people cannot improve but coaches at international level are not there to teach basics. Please read the article again, I never said people cannot learn new tricks or bring improvements in their game.

        “Once the player is representing his country, he is expected to do the basics right.”

    • June 15th 2017 @ 9:08pm
      BrainsTrust said | June 15th 2017 @ 9:08pm | ! Report

      Cricket was a sport that was not about the spectator initiallty it was about the rich gentleman player , and professionalism came from those who were rich wanting to bat and get teammates who were bowlers.That is why the captain is king in the game.

    • June 25th 2017 @ 4:40pm
      Hayden said | June 25th 2017 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

      International Coach should “NOT” be a Selector. That’s the Captain’s job.

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