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Saurav Ganguly a potential Warne or Bevan

The primary thing to identify with the ongoing IPL is that the golden rule of sports, applies to even this so called young-man’s game. Age certificate is no criteria for success in this format of the game. The biggest stars last year were Warne, Mcgrath & Jaisuriya & this year too seems to continue in the same vein with Tendulkar , Dravid & Gilchrist right backing contention in the T20 format of the game. The matter first came into prominence when people and a gullible fourth estate tried to run down the pioneers of the league cricket-ICL, due to the age of its international player-pool base. Then came the IPL and the biggest stars last year were Warne, Mcgrath & Jaisuriya. The experts did a turn around and followed the cliché mantra – “form is temporary, class is permanent”. So my strong request to especially the media; next time around judge the tournaments of both IPL & ICL objectively on basis of the cricket on display and not pre-conceived notions. After-all despite the facts that ICL is at the moment unofficial; its young players are domestic Indian talents who deserve more than just an ostracized rebel tag.

I am principally not against league cricket as it helps identify new talent and also provides economic prosperity for professional cricketers. It has helped prolong the otherwise short careers of some fine international cricketers, alongside helping some make comebacks like that of Shane Watson. However I have a minor disagreement with the way IPL is positioned as an entertainment tamasha. Such positioning does disservice to the game and its cricketers;e forced to take the backseat to overenthusiastic corporate czars & Bollywood personalities. I think it will also affect the IPL in the long run because it’s biggest critics are questioning the quality of cricket on its platform. Soon players will approach the tournament with a casual approach and the core consumer of the game –‘ hardcore cricket fans’, will turn away from it. I guess Lalit Modi’s advisers will do a great service to advice the self proclaimed Moses to reposition his product as a serious cricket tournament, with entertainment a critical but peripheral product extension.

Coming back to the game – kudos to Shane Warne, every time he takes the field he brings cricket back in the limelight and puts the entertainment quotient in its right place. What makes Warne special is that he has laid emphasis on what is a critical factor for a successful T20 league side-“ develop your domestic talent”. Success in both IPL & ICL depends on the contribution of the young domestic talents. After all every side is composite of 7 domestics and 4 internationals in both leagues and therefore the differentiating factor between a good & bad side is the quality of its domestic pool. This is what makes two coaches especially special, Shane Warne (Rajasthan Royals –IPL) & Michael Bevan (Chennai Superstars-ICL). Both are champion cricketers with supreme confidence in their abilities, both have been integral part of the most successful cricket team in the last 25 years & most importantly have delivered results. This is the whole purpose of ICL & IPL identify new talent not only from the player pool but also support staff and coaches who can take forward the international format of the game.
Two other coaches who come to mind are the combative Moin Khan who leads a mercurial Pakistan side – Lahore Badshahs on the ICL platform and Steve Rixon former New Zealand coach, who has championed the cause of Hyderabad Heroes (ICL) and the ICL –India team. The final word is written by deliverables and this is where fancy coaches like John Buchanan, Greg Chappel & Jeff Lawson have bit dust. A special mention for Moin needs to be added for the simple reason that he has created the old Pakistani magic with the Lahore Badshahs- they are unpredictable, combative, maverick , cheat with the ball to produce reverse swing, produce aggressive Pakistani cricket; true flavor of the troubled nation’s rich cricketing history. The Greatest achievement of Moin has been his ability to combine mercurial raw talent with discipline; making the Pakistani outfit at ICL a potent deadly unit.

As a cricket fan one can only hope that sanity prevails and the game (Cricket) & the above magnificent gentlemen take the center stage at especially IPL. One quality that Warne, Bevan & Moin had in common in their playing days was their gritty approach to the game and that opportune’s, food for thought for the most troubled IPL side –KKR. We all know that Saurav Ganguly may be a bit over the hill- but his grittiness provides for a great opportunity to make him a player cum coach of the Kolkata side! Ganguly has always shown interest in coaching- his greatest quality as an Indian captain, was his recognition, nurturing & backing of young talent like Harbhajan,Zaheer & Yuvraj.
I repeat the crux of success for a T20 League side is dependent on how well the coach harnesses the domestic talent available to him- Bevan has done that with R Sathish, G Vignesh & P Syed Mohammad. Warne has done it with Asnodkar, Kamran Khan & Ravindra jadeja & my bet is Saurav Ganguly has the credentials to do better with young domestic boys than good old “Buck”- whose expertise lies with managing big players rather than young upcoming domestic boys.

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