A total of 57 applications have been received for the job of Indian cricket team head coach and 21 have been shortlisted.
From former cricketers, both Indian and foreign, to selectors – many have thrown their hat into the ring. Unsurprisingly, the hoopla is all about grabbing the lime-light, a few million bucks and a prickly throne for the next few years.
Since the interviews are underway and the announcement for the next head coach is likely to be made on 24 June, here’s a look at five worthy incumbents who should cut a deal with the BCCI and get their names added to the list of 21 for consideration.
The Government of India has been harassing Vijay Mallya ever since the desi Richard Branson failed to pay-off a petty Rs. 90 billion loan, once taken to revive a failing airlines business. The subsequent insensitivity shown towards Mallya by the authorities has driven him out of the country to source funds in a bid to pay off the debt.
A top job for Mallya with the BCCI is a win-win-win for him, the country and the national team while the extra cash will help him regulate his EMIs. Meanwhile, the country’s officials will have the gratification of having solved a high profile fraud case.
The team will get a much needed boost on away tours since Mallya has been on English soil for a few months tackling authorities and hence, acclimatization wouldn’t be an issue – Virat Kohli, are you listening?
Skipper MS Dhoni has insisted time and again to have a coach who understands the Indian culture and someone who augurs well for the team. To be honest, Mallya understands the culture like no other having prepared for the role all these years with IPL auctions, parties and after parties.
Let’s not forget the liquor baron’s skill to unearth talent, just like he identified potential loan guarantors in farmers, vegetable vendors and security guards.
Chief of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in India, Pahlaj Nihalani, has been on the receiving end of a social media backlash recently for commissioning 89 cuts for cuss words, violence and depiction of drug abuse in an upcoming Bollywood movie, Udta Punjab.
Nihalani, a former film producer, has shown great proficiency at tackling the media’s questions of late, which also happens to be one of the foremost requirements for a coach, especially that of the Indian cricket team.
Besides, his guidance will be priceless for the Indian batsmen to master short deliveries with upper cuts, square cuts, late cuts and any other cuts that exist. Fast bowlers too will learn the art of bowling with a shortened run-up.
The team will also benefit from his strong ideologies on culture, couture and articulation, improving their appeals and taking sledging out of the game. Players will spend more time training since WAGs will be banned and there’ll be nothing else to do but watch marathon episodes of the Indian mythology epic Mahabharata.
The only flipside to his appointment is that Virat Kohli will be benched. Unless he cuts.
Arnab Goswami is the perfect choice for this role, period. Anyone who has heard him during the News Hour on Times Now would agree that he can talk the talk and coerce even Stuart Binny to believe that he’s a fast bowler, and that is the greatest contribution a coach can make.
Imagine a debate for every field change, over the batting order and over choice of cookies for breakfast. It will not just keep the dressing room busy, but also provide players the technique to reason their poor performances.
Arnab will bring in additional benefits to the team like the ability to contest an umpire’s decision without losing their match fee and strong vocal chords that would facilitate better communication between batsmen and reduce the probability of a run-out.
But the nation wants to know why the BCCI should consider him, and that’s because he is multi-faceted. He can operate as a commentator, an umpire, a post-match presenter, a media spokesperson (who better), a cricket analyst, a statistician and both Duckworth and Lewis at the same time. The BCCI can also air a News Hour-like show during the cricketing off season to exploit his ruins and derive a lot more from a single payroll.
A businessman by profession, Vadra will bring his own brand of Monopoly to the nation’s cricket side; Buy-Sell-Rent-Repeat.
A man like Vadra as India coach is the need of the hour, for that will bring a rise in good fortune for Indian cricket akin to the rise in his fortune. A mysterious campaigner, he will help mould Indian spinners to be like Sunil Narine, train them for the craft and guile, develop variations, or otherwise simply purchase the bowler from the West Indies.
The Vadra Coaching Manual will have answers to player FAQs like ‘How to steal a run?’, ‘How to outfox the batsman?’, ‘How to prize a wicket?’ and 3478 such others. The BCCI should think twice before rejecting this application, their headquarters at Wankhede in Mumbai might well be owned by him.
The charismatic Indian skipper has achieved all there is to in the game. A World Cup victory in two formats, a No. 1 Test ranking, a Champions Trophy, two IPL titles and a long awaited tour of Zimbabwe. The icing on the cake will be the head coach’s position.
In the twilight of his playing career, he should think of this role as how an employee looks at accumulated Provident Fund money, withdraw it all when you leave. It will be an insult to talk about what he brings to the table when he brought the table itself. Perhaps this would also be an opportunity to put on his off-field strategist hat, having seen his on-field mastery for years.
He should also consider that the position would mean a nice little fairy-tale ending to his ticket collector turned goalkeeper turned cricket captain turned coach script for the upcoming biopic. Shouldn’t he?