Friday, April 26, 2013

What Are The Coaches Doing?

What are so many coaches doing in the IPL with such large support staff? If that were not enough we have mentors and other experts as well. I have an issue with so many people advising the team because then nobody has a clear responsibility.

In fact I think that a coach at best, with his support staff, should be more than enough if one does not have a captain who can handle the strategy part. Shane Warne did a wonderful job as captain, coach and mentor for Rajasthan Royals. It makes sense because one individual takes the call, follows his procedures and establishes communication lines with the players. The line of authority, communication is clear and avoids all confusion and duplication.

My issue is this - the man out there is the captain of the side and he has to take the calls. But you undermine his authority by having a coach who, in my opinion should play the mentor and advisor role, and not get too involved in day to day strategy. At best he ought to have an advisory / support role and allow the captain and vice captain to take the decisions. What I see are too many captains who have almost no say in the proceedings and too many advisors who may give conflicting advise.

One of the biggest jobs of the Coach would be to develop and empower captains. Let the captain take the decisions and the ownership on the field. All strategy on field must be done before hand and at best some new inputs may be given during breaks etc.

As for the large coaching contingents I would like to see the coaching staff do a lot more of stuff that I do not see them doing. For example getting bowlers to bowl yorkers! After yesterday's game against the Sunrisers Hyderabad MSD mentioned how his bowlers seem to have forgotten the art of bowling yorkers. In fact it is not a malaise that only CSK suffers from - almost all other team suffer from the same problem. Save Lasith Malinga I cannot think of many other bowlers who can bowl yorkers at death. In fact I would ant two bowlers who can bowl 8 yorkers on the spot in 12 balls each in the last 4 overs. Yorkers are a practiced skill and the more you bowl the better you get. The fact that even Steyn forgot to bowl yorkers to Dhoni is indicative of something falling short in that department.

If Malinga can bowl yorkers at will it's because he practiced them to perfection. Cannot these bowling coaches teach their internationals to bowl yorkers, slower ones and other variations as the game demands? How come half the bowlers do not even bowl line and length and are all over the place? What's the coaching staff doing?

To think that the only innovation I have seen in this IPL has been the Pollard ball, which he delivers from two steps behind the bowling crease, is a shame. And that is an old trick that bowlers used in the fifties too. So what is new? Rarely have I seen bowlers change the angle by using both width and depth of the crease. Rarely have there been exhilarating spells of bowling save those from Sunil Narine, Steyn or Mishra. 

To me it's pretty simple. You cannot have so many Coaches unless they are adding clear value. If you have expertise then use it. It must show on the performances. if it's not then get rid of the Coaches and let  the players figure it out by themselves.

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