Posted by: nestaquin | May 12, 2008

A Change of Heart

The response to the proposed halfway mark Simply the Best compilation IPL XI was reasonably conclusive. Before I extrapolate, a confession. I deliberately did not give all four import positions to Australians for fear of accusations of favouritism at best or nepotism at worst. With the quality of commentators that read 99.94 my fears were unfounded, paranoid and unnecessary.

Obviously, Shane Warne should be selected. He is after all the most influential player at the inaugural IPL. However, before disregarding Murali, it must be stated that he has bowled cleverly and accurately, using all his experience and skill in a losing team and he will be even more difficult to score from as the pitches become tired.

Spin may become a weapon as the series progresses. The pitches are becoming slower, lower and are turning, especially in Jaipur where Warne has assembled a squad brimming with tweakers. Rajasthan have all but booked themselves in the top four and Warne’s first venture into coaching has been as successful as the rest of his illustrious career.

Warne, who has on several occasions publicly vented his frustration in regards to former coach John Buchanan, has taken an old school approach to the newest cricketing format with great success. It wasn’t that long ago that coaches were not important in cricketing teams. Coaches had a role to play but the captain was the undisputed leader and it was he who made the final decisions on tactics, selection and training.

Greg Chappell’s dismissal after India’s embarrassing exit at the 2007 World Cup also left them without a coach and under Kumble’s leadership they achieved some success and perhaps it is time to reassess the boundaries of coaches and reassert the responsibilities of captains.

With their undisputed leader on the field and not in the dressing-room, Rajasthan lead the league table and the fair play award and Warne and his men should be proud that they continue to win while upholding the Spirit of Cricket.

I have more work scheduled than I’m likely to manage in the coming fortnight and regrettably will not be able to post as regularly as I would like but rest assured there will be reports on England’s first Test against the depleted Kiwis, the beginning of Australia’s tour of the Caribbean and the final rounds of the Indian Premier League. Until then my friends be well, keep your eye on the ball and your blade straight.

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Responses

  1. Nesta,
    I agree with you that captains have to be given full sway in selection issues. But i doubt if the same can be applied to planning tactics and in training. I beg to disagree with the fact that centralising decision making would solve these problems.

    India did have bowling and fielding coaches in Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh from the T20 world cup to India-Pakistan home series and India’s tour down under. While one cannot attribute the tournament success to the coaches alone, their presence should not be underrated. Prasad deserves some praise for regrouping rookie fastbowlers in Pathan, Ishant and RP to deliver in Perth.

  2. Most play cricket, some can ‘feel’ cricket, a few ‘understand’ cricket and perhaps only Warne is able to explain cricket in ways that underpin performance as an individual but also support and extend the performance of others.

    I can just imagine Warne saying “Coaches … ptooey” and, in his case, he’s right. This is not an argument against support staff (they are vital) but about who has control. Jezza, 1979, need I say any more?

  3. Warne’s greatest skill is his ability to win cricket matches – it’s really uncanny, almost alchemical. It almost doesn’t matter what title he has, just get him in the dressing room and watch the base metal transform.

    If he has too many enemies in Aus, expect him to coach England (for whatever salary he wants) come 2013.

  4. Just read the Warne chapter in Haigh’s collected writings. I think SK needs to stay in the game to stay out of trouble and he will never be short of offers.

  5. Yes, it is true that Warne is a freak when it comes to cricket. I agree that he needs to stay in the game to avoid trouble. I have no doubt he will for the offers will never extinguish. If not he could so easily go down the same dark road as another sporting genius Maradona.

    I fear that if he succeeds in Las Vegas playing poker that he could potentially end up as sad and stupid as the little Argentinian. But I hope that Shane will avoid that path. He is an adventurous risk-taker but he is not an idiot. Enjoy his guile and magic while they last. We will never see another as gifted.


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