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Sight Screen

Friday, June 17, 2005

Chappell watch

The coach, this story says, is busy setting the wheels in motion, planning camps, discussing issues with the support staff.
Elsewhere -- and this will likely be a regular feature of his tenure -- past players are busy parsing his every statement, and dividing themselves into camps pro and con.
Thus, Chappell's take on captaincy -- that you select your team, first, and then pick the guy to lead it -- has Polly Umrigar pro, Chandu Borde con. (Why pick on Umrigar and Borde to comment? Donno -- maybe they happened to be easily available).
Borde, arguing against, comes up with this:
"It's something new to Indian cricket, but I don't know whether this is a good idea or how this would work out as during selection committee meetings both the captain and coach are present and their views are given weightage (by the selectors)," Borde said.
"How could you get the captain's views about the players who are to be chosen if he himself has not been chosen in the first place?" he queried.

Hmmm, let's see: How about we set the clock at zero? How about we say we don't have a national team just now? (For all practical purposes we don't, this being the off season). How about the national selection committee sits down and picks the national team for the coming season -- with the coach present, this time, merely as observer (he would be in no position to play a larger role just now -- he has just taken over, and would not yet be au courant with the form of current players and with the available bench strength)? How about the selectors, once they have picked the team -- for the triseries in Sri Lanka -- appoint the captain?
From there on it becomes easy, no? The captain, once appointed, is for the long term, form and fitness permitting. He automatically becomes, along with the coach, a member in good voice of the selection committee. Where's the problem?


  • According to Borde's view, a captain can never be dropped.
    And his comment that even Australia work that way is just BS.
    First of all the Aussie board is run by professionals. If they want to take the Aussie model, they should go all the way, not just pick what suits them (the administrators/selectors).
    Second, I don;t think the Aussie board picks the captain first and then the team. Remember Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor even though good enough to be captains, were left out of the ODI side just because they did not fit in the playing eleven?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:14  

  • PP,
    small correction: there never was a national team, only a BCCI team

    By Anonymous amar, at 11:58  

  • I think The Australian model of selection doesnt allow any vote for the captain in selection. And their line of thinnking is -- I think -- easier man management for the captain because players cant have grudge against you because of getting dropped etc..
    But the point is whether the captain has a say or not, the selection committee is accoutable. And thats what is lacking here in india. Continuity and accoutability. I think if thats established, I doubt there will be so many problems with the selection even if the capain adn coach dont have votes, because most of the times they would want to do the same thing. I mean sitting here without knowing the internals if the team, us fans can pick the same team (at least 13 of 15) what the coach and captain wants.
    More than coach and captain having say in the selection, the problem of accoutability and continuity for selectors is more important.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:11  

  • Prem,

    Not that I'm suggesting that Ganguly should be dropped or anything of the sort, but the key issue in your proposed solution is 'form and fitness permitting...'. In other words, how long do you let a captain, who is woefully out of form, continue?

    Lets take this further, lets say you go...umm...6 full Test series, and your captain (in the side as a batsman) is averaging under 20 (I have NO idea what the relevant number for Ganguly is). Is that good enough to drop him? Or should we wait a couple more series?? Assuming it is for a moment, how does the transition process work - do the selectors, at that stage, decide to meet without the current captain and pick a new squad from scratch (and then a captain from the squad and so on...)?

    Agreed, captains MUST be appointed for the long term, but a better solution maybe to guarantee a captain a term of 2 years or so; as is guaranteed to the coach currently (subject merely to fitness and NOT to form). Yes, this would almost incentivise the individual concerned to focus on his leadership at the cost of carrying his weight in the team as a player, but at least it eliminates this whole 'pick team first'/'captain has to give inputs on picking team' conundrum.

    Another interesting issue is how almost all teams now have a specialist batsman as captain. In fact the last bowler-captains, I can remember are Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Points to the greater role that batsman have in the game compared to ever before, at the cost of the bowlers. I would think that a bowler captain may make a better choice (simple reason being Tests are won more regularly by teams that can take 20 wickets than those which can rack up 500 runs in the first innings).

    By Anonymous Nandu, at 12:23  

  • At Last Dada got chance to bat today. Glamorgan 82/3 (19.1 )

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:33  

  • one more 50 from Dada - 54 from 80 balls

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13:30  

  • Prem:

    Sorry, but I couldn’t quite agree with your suggestion to the problem. Not trying to make a case either for or against Ganguly here, but the idea of setting the clock back to zero sounds like an utopian concept – this does not work in real life now, does it ? To exclude the captain and coach from selecting the team (setting the clock to zero) is contrary to the whole concept that we have been arguing about, viz., “if I am the cook, then I should have a say in the grocery shopping”

    Under your scenario, the selection committee selects the team and then selects a captain for the next 2 or 3 series –so lets say that based on the current situation, Dravid (heir apparent) is selected captain. What happens if he loses form ? 2 or 3 series from now, do we again set the clock to zero and select a team with no input from the captain (since he is not selected at this point anyway) and then decide on who is the next captain ?

    And what happens the next time around and thereafter – do we end up in an endless cycle of setting the clock to zero to select the team first and then the captain? For everyone out there who thinks that this idea of the captain losing form and thereby necessitating this process is far fetched, please keep in mind that the pressures of captaincy take a toll on most players' performance (case in point: Dravid – his average as captain is 17.25 vs his career average of 57.86 – that is a 40.61 negative run differential per innings as captain).

    Isn’t the better alternative to select the captain first and then the team (notice I said select, not appoint). Let the selection committee get together with the coach and decide on whether the incumbent, Ganguly (I did not pick Dravid because he is not the captain plus he is in good form - so no conspiracy theories, please !!) deserves a place in the team based on current form (to be determined after the end of the English county season, lets say). If his performances / form are worthy of a place in the team, then he is selected in the team on that basis. If not, then drop his name from consideration for captain as he is incapable of commanding a place automatically – he becomes a fringe player to be dealt with at the selection meeting.

    If you decide Ganguly belongs in the team, then make the determination of whether he is the captain based on past record as a captain, his understanding of the job, and the presence of other viable alternatives. So for example, if the committee decides that Dravid is a viable candidate as well and the latter also deserves his place in the team based on form, then evaluate the two on a head to head basis using captaincy traits as the basis for judgement. If Ganguly is preferred, make him the captain, if Dravid is the better candidate make Dravid the captain. Then you can move onto the next step and select the team with coach and captain present.

    You can take any name/s and put it in the above mentioned scenario and it will work for the most part. But setting the clock to zero just sounds implausible as it defeats the concept of having the captain's voice heard at team selection.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13:52  

  • er...cook comes home, sees what is in the fridge, cooks up something and later that day goes out shopping for the next days cooking ingredients.....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13:58  

  • Prem,
    I want your straight opinion. Given his form today, and his failures in recent past, should or should not Ganguly be chosen in the ODI team (and forgetting the ban for a while) ??? And if chosen, he would be automatic choice for captain I assume ?

    It would be great to hear your opinion on this, not on tangetial issues that this can lead to :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 14:48  

  • There seems to be a fallacy in some of the pro-ganguly arguments here. If we were constantly playing against weak teams, then no one would doubt picking Ganguly. He is one of the greatest flat track, weak team bully. Is it not ridiculous that he is the second highest scorer in the WC? Any ideas who he scored against?

    I donot think that Ganguly is performing well. His performance against international quality teams should be the deciding factor for his place in the team, forget the captainship. The last time he performed well was way back, almost 2-3 years ago. So, he should be replaced.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14:59  

  • kb,

    Agree with your views.....only thought would be that comparing Dravid's record as captain with Dravid's record while not captain, may not be a good idea, given Dravid's relative lack of tenure as a captain....BTW, did anyone get a look at the article on Cricinfo today which discusses Inzy as a batsman and how captaincy hasnt affected it....interesting, I thought, that one was......

    By Anonymous Nandu, at 15:21  

  • nandu:

    Good point because dravid has only been captain for 5 tests, and it may not be reflective of long term results -I was trying to use an example to show how captaincy might affect players (there are other examples of course such as botham). Nothing against Dravid though, he remains the bulwark of our batting line up.

    On a different note, Inzy's performance is amazing as captain. He is one of those(remember Imran as captain) whose play reaches a higher level as captain. I've always agreed with Imran's point of view that he gets overlooked when people are naming the best batsmen of our era --he is a classy player, definitely among the best I've seen.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15:37  

  • Hey Anon,
    Enuf man. Do you know Ganguly's test average against the stonger teams in the past 2-3 years apart from the last Aussie and Pakistan when he was in terrible form? Go and check out. Do you think he scored all those Intl. centuries only against the weak teams on flat tracks? Any proof to support your claim?

    By Anonymous Jai, at 16:02  

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