It is no secret that entire Indian subcontinent is obsessed with cricket. Cricket players are the richest in the country. It is also country where cricket fans commit suicide over the defeat of the country in cricket games.
After the ouster of India from the World Cup, media as always has initiated debates on various subject. Who will be the next captain? Is Dravid good? Should Sachin replace him? (Much as I like Sachin, I do not want him to don the mantle of the captain)
So who is the latest scapegoat of Indian debacle at World cup? They have lynched them all—entire World cup team including the twelfth man, the captain, and lastly the ‘foreign’ coach. Patriotic Indians are eager to make scapegoat out of Greg Chappel. I am no cricket expert, I do not know if Chappel was a good coach or a bad coach. But I can easily say that it’s not the coach who goes to play on the field. A coach can only instruct, teach, and strategize how team will play the game. But it is the players who need to perform on the field. I am baffled why the entire nation has failed to consider this before crying hoarse about the ‘ineptitude’ of the ‘foreign’ coach.
The uncharitable comments against this Aussie coach have been doing rounds of media for several past months. The ouster of non-performing Indian captain Sourav Ganguly from the national cricket team for about a year had enraged many Indian fans, especially Bengali fans. The blame for Ganguly’s ouster landed squarely on the coach, thanks to email leaks to media. Since then there have been several other leaks to the media that I am no longer sure if these ‘leaks’ from Chappel and others are actually leaks or intentional implants in media. However, I am sure on one thing, that the coach had a vision for Indian cricket that did not come true due to several reasons.
Greg Chappel comes from a country that has a solid cricketing system in place. Perhaps his working style was too unconventional for the Indian mindset, I am sure there are some recommendations from the coach that can be considered and implemented. More than debating if Greg Chappel is a villain or victim, I would rather want cricket board and the selectors to sit up and rethink the Indian cricketing structure.
Perhaps deep down in my heart, I am glad this Chappel-Indian cricketers conflict brought this rethink opportunity to India. I am glad India was out of cricket World Cup in the first round, or we would never have considered the need to revamp the process.
But I am scared at this niggling thought that was born after witnessing nationwide fury against Chappel—Are we furious that our cricket team did not perform well at World Cup or Are we secretly becoming slightly xenophobic?