Team India

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.

This famous quote from Alan Cohen exemplifies the experiments and methods, tried out by Greg Chappell in the 20 months of his existence as the Coach for Team India. The more I read about the so called lunacies of Chappell – as mentioned in numerous Cric-sites, channels et al, the more I am convinced that here is a man who dared to think radically or rather tangentially in a nation which thrives on cliches and road often used. Behind the veil of culture and traditions we tend to hide our inability to be creative or being courageous to try the road untravelled. Here was a man who has been branded all sorts of adjectives, which in Websters or any thesaurus means a plain blank lunatic, for being unconventional, or Un-Indian by being a straight talker. Maybe Chappell would be history Indian Cricket post the World Cup, but to me he has done enough to germinate the thought in many minds that Cricket can be developed in this country only if we are creative and not conventional.

Hey, I am not here to advocate for Greg Chappell, he doesnt need that. Neither am I here to publish a report card on his behalf, I am too lesser a mortal for doing such a thing. What I am contemplating on is – What is it that raises the blood pressure of the so called pundits of the game in this country, at the mention of the name Chappell?

To underline a few points:
1. He chose to do the unthinkable – not once but twice. Once, when he suggested to Saurav Ganguly to step down as a Captain and Second, when he sent a mail, a stratght forward dossier on Ganguly’s lack of seriousness towards the job at hand to the Board. The fact that the mail leaked is not a coincidence but a well thought out Political stunt which is so Indian. The thought that we could not digest an outsider asking for the head of our captain is another testimony to the Indianness. This is evident in every walk of life – Politics, Corporate Sector, Other sports, Films etc. Our heroes should never be touched by outsiders, we can create riots for that reason.
2. He chose to be unconventional – courtesy his numerous experiments. On this count the so called cricketing greats of yesteryears too lost sleep. But we never understand that cricket today is all about being unpredictable, being able to out think the opposition and being versatile. Hmm…arent we talking stuff which is so UnIndian? No wonder, he got pasted when Team India lost.
3. He preferred youngsters – cmon, at the cost of some heavy weights? How dare you?
4. He showed finger at us – Oooooh…so un”cultured”. But the so called TV channels never dared or bothered to turn the cameras or rather the volumes of their microphones towards the crowd which instigated that. The expletives used by the waiting population deserved far more alarming response from a man from down under.

No, I am not trying to give Chappell a clean chit. I am trying to advocate a point that do we understand the term “Professional” or the much elaborate term “Professionalism”. We lack it in every walk of life. We go out every morning to be one but end up being a fat egoistic, diplomatic, bureaucratic, closed minded slob. Thats what India today is all about. We cannot cope with professional tough talking, meaning-business set up. We want to talk, reason out, dekhenge-karenge attitude. Thats where we are good at. So Greg Chappell is just a represetative of all those professionals who intend to take up a job of reforming set ups in India but will always be branded a lunatic, uncultured hag who cannot understand Indian Traditiona and Psyche…my foot!!!

What is the realistic time needed to cleanse the present Indian Cricket setup? 4 years or may be 5 or even a decade!!! and How much time do we give to Chappell? Well, 20 months or so. He tries to find the most gutfilled cricketers by posing variety od situations to each one of them, throws some stagnant minded cricketers at the right time for them to come out of their mental cobwebs at the right time to be ready for the real test.

But these are all cock and bull for us. We had tried our hands at having a foreign mind in other sports too, meeting the same fate. One exception being John Wright, who was blessed with a relatively long tenure and a situation where trying new blood was the only alternative as half the team was banned for match fixing.

Chappell is not the issue. Our stale cliched Indianness is. We need to be more creative and professional in the real sense of these words. We can go on ranting about our culture etc. but then didnt our history and culture throw up tell tales of die hard professionalism. We have to get away from this given up fram of mind, that we Indians are the people with brains and not muscles ….bull shit.

Unless we can adapt to change or be thorough professional in our profession or be open to criticism to act on them and improve, look at ourselves in the mirror and accept that we need to come out of our mediocre cells we are not going anywhere. Our failure at winning internationally in any context stems from this clogged mind rather than our culture or work ethic or body composition etc.


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