Wednesday May 18
On the Dean Jones front, I forgot to mention this in my last post. Probably u guys might have seen this on the same sites I did but I don't remember many papers covering this bit of news. So here it is ... Deano's mom passed away on the same day as the shortlist for the coach's job was announced. So he lost his mom and a chance at the coach's position on the same day ... obviously the personal loss is greater but just thought would mention in case someone hadn't read about it. Jones is also a contender for the SL post but from what reports I have read, even there he is not in the shortlist ... from what I read, even SL is gonna pick from Moody and Chappel ... so basically what India leaves, SL takes.
On that score, my admiration for the BCCI's audacity grows. When the SL board was talking about announcing their coach within a few days and upstaging the Indians, the BCCI secretary (I think) had given a statement that the applicants for the job in SL would give their decision only once they learnt their fate from the Indian board. And bingo ... the SL board is forced to eat its words and announce that their selection would be finalized only after the Indian board finalizes its own coach. Basically, the leftovers go to SL. On one hand, the Indian board's statement was so cheeky and unprofessional ... typical BCCI ... but what is a cause for chargin is that the BCCI's stand is actually borne out by events. For all the time they dragged their feet before setting up the committee etc, they deserved one of their prime candidates to go to SL and thus give up his shot at the Indian coach slot. But probably, that wouldn't have taught anything to the BCCI either ... so we r probably better off this way.
The interviews are tomorrow and I really don't know what Amarnath hopes to achieve by turning up. Firstly, the BCCI hates him coz he has made fun of them in public in the past. Secondly, the BCCI is already supposed to be pissed off with him coz he talked in some interview about BCCI's inherent fascination with the "gori chamdi" (white skin) and wondered if applying "Fair and Lovely cream" would do him any good. Frankly, I don't know the validity of this report - either Amarnath's statement or the BCCI's pique - but from what we know of Jimmy, he could very well have said it. And if he did, I can very well imagine the BCCI wouldn't like it one bit. BCCI's ego ended Amarnath's career ... it could very well end his coaching ambitions (where India is concerned).
If Amarnath is in with a chance, it could only be in conjunction with either Moody or Chappell. With Chappell, it has to be a role of Assistant Coach, coz with a master batsman like him around, a batting coach would really look silly. This way, the BCCI basically grooms him to learn from Chappell. Question is whether Amarnath would consider this beneath him ... to work under a "gori chamdi"?
The second option for Amarnath is if Moody becomes coach coz then Amarnath could find a place as a batting coach ... specially since he is one of the best players of fast bowling India ever had. Frankly, the Chuckster doesn't like the idea of a batting coach but from reports, the BCCI is considering such an option (Even if it decides not to take that path finally). With guys like SRT, Dravid, Sehwag and Laxman around who in the Chuckster's opinion are (or were, in SRT's case) among the best in the world, a batting coach would be redundant. Even for cases like the present day SRT, it is not a batting coach he needs but a shrink ... anyway that is beating a dead horse. It is guys like Ganguly / Yuveraj / new boys who could utilize a batting coach but frankly, when you have SRT, Dravid, Sehwag and Laxman around, why should anyone need a batting coach? Batting strategy (play slow / play fast / run singles / drop ball at the feet and run / batting slot) is different from batting (technique / rising ball / flashing outside off stump etc) and while India definitely need a batting strategist, they DO NOT need a batting technician.
On the other hand, the Chuckster definitely likes the idea of having a bowling coach / fielding coach etc coz frankly, we don't have anyone in the present team (like we have batsman) who is great in those fields. We have many potentially good bowlers and one or two good fielders (note - taking catches is not equivalent to good fielding) ... we could definitely make use of a bowling / fielding coach.
Anyway, I don't know when the BCCI announces the selection though the interviews are slated for tomorrow (Thursday). I for one would be praying for Chappell to be the chosen one simply coz (as stated many times before) I am tired of the Indians playing the same kind of game day in day out. They can be great but they never try to reach that peak ... they r content with mediocrity and an occassional flash of brilliance. Yes, that mediocrity level has changed under Wright's tenure as in they r less mediocre but if with a team consisting of Dravid, SRT, Laxman, Sehwag and Kumble we cannot touch greatness then we probably will have to wait a long time to do something worthwhile.
As I said in my last post, it is Chappell's radical thinking that excites me ... I am sure Chappell and Moody would be equally determined and hard working and I am sure Moody would not be behind Chappell where toughness and attitude is concerned. However, where Chappell is a recognized genius (based on this thoughts, at least), Moody comes without a reputation.
On the lighter side, I read reports that Balwinder Sandhu and Ashok Malhotra r pissed off that they are not being considered for the post of Indian coach. The BCCI would have no objections to interviewing them, I am sure, since they r keen to show the public that they are more than willing to consider Indian choices (though the public knows that no way in hell is an Indian getting selected).
On other news, Sania Mirza crashed out in the second qualifying round of the Strassbourg tournament. She will make her next appearance at the French Open and simply put, this is the year for Sania to really freak out. Since the rankings are largely based on last year's performance, even not-great performances from Sania would only push her up ... if she manages a third round at Roland Gaross (yeah, might be wishful thinking but hey, doesn't cost anything) it would really shoot up her ranking. If she does lose in the first round, she won't really lose out too much. Win-win situation for her.
The shortlisting for the World Vs. World Champions matches to be played in Australia in Oct / Nov was announced ... amusing to note that Ganguly wasn't in either the test or ODI team (no surprises here) while SRT was present in both (if he makes the final 11 in the test team, it would only be courtesy a certain Mr. Gavaskar ... in the ODIs, he probably would make it easily). Laxman, Sehwag and Dravid would surely make the 11 in my test squad every time. Also amusing to note was Shoaib Akhtar's inclusion in both the squads. Frankly, if he doesn't keep breaking down and if one considers his "bad teamsmanship" - since this is not the Indian team we r talking about - to be none of our business then Akhtar is a very good choice ... if one looks at the bowling options available in the squads, suddenly the Indian bowling attack doesn't look too bad at all. Akhtar could really be a spearhead in this attack if used well and of course, if he doesn't break down.
Ok, I gotta run home. See ya, chaps.