The last two times Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) had to select a coach for the Indian team, it selected a Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) that included Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly. A better group of three men could not have been found for taking on this responsibility. The presence of Ganguly was most valuable as he is the man who pulled Indian cricket out of the morass it found itself in when Sachin Tendulkar resigned as the skipper in 2000.
Dada was able to do that because of his vision for the Indian team – a side capable of winning in all conditions. To have that vision while picking the man who will guide the Indian team in future is essential.
But this time around, the three members chosen for the task are Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy. All three are highly respected members of Indian cricket fraternity and have served the country with distinction. But are they the right people for the job given? Considering the question dispassionately will produce some uncomfortable answers.
Let's look at all three members one-by-one. Anshuman Gaikwad, who coach India in the 1990s is one of the three. What's his record as a coach? Well, to begin with, not very good. Secondly, and more importantly, he was the coach under whom Indian team embarked on that notorious policy of getting square-turners prepared for home Tests, using Anil Kumble and any two good tweakers to bundle out opposition, and earning easy victories.
What this tactic did was make India a completely hopeless side outside the subcontinent. Gaikwad and Mohammad Azharuddin were responsible for this strategy. Now, do we want to go back to the era of 1990s? Will Gaikwad look for a coach who, unlike him, wants to win in all conditions? It is hard to say. Still, his lack of success and lack of a vision is something the BCCI could do without.
Let's come to the next person – Kapil Dev, another former coach. Now, Kapil paaji is the greatest Indian cricketer of all time but he too was a failure as a coach. While he has taken to commentary and exudes more passion for India than anyone else, his tenure as coach was one of the worst periods in Indian cricket history. Sourav Ganguly even alluded to the inability of Dev to coach the Indian team in an interesting exchance between the two on TV some years ago. Also the legendary 1983 World Cup-winning captain played in an era of no professional coaches. How will he be able to know the best requirement of modern-day coaches.
Last but not the least, let's talk about Shantha Rangaswamy. She is one of the original heroines of Indian women's cricket and has been duly awarded for her achievements. But here is one question: On what basis has the BCCI decided that she would be the best person to select the next coach of the Indian team? It is hard to avoid the conclusion that she has been chosen simply to have a female representative in the committee.
This bit of affirmative action is good for other things but not when a very serious issues, relating to the male Indian cricket team, is being dealt with. Rangaswamy hasn't been a very prominent figure in the Indian cricket stage. What makes the BCCI think that she is more qualified than so many of the previous players.
All in all, the CAC created by BCCI is completely ill-suited to the task. It won't be surprising if they make a bad decision. However, with Ravi Shastri likely to continue in his position, perhaps, there won't be a need to make any decision!