One of the common grouses of the owners of the various franchises in the Indian Premier League is that they are not allowed to play as many foreign players – most of them ask for 5 players – in the first eleven. The common ruling in this case is that since it is the “Indian” Premier League it is necessary to promote “Indian” talent. Such an approach from the powers-that-be is laudable indeed – they wish to provide local Indian players greater opportunities at playing with the who’s who of world cricket. However, the one question that comes up in this scenario is why isn’t a same approach taken in case of the other important members of the team like coaches, physios and trainers?
Following is a list of the support staff members at various franchises:
Chennai Super Kings
- Coach – Stephen Fleming
- Physiotherapist – Tommy Simsek
- Bowling coach – Andy Bichel
- Team manager – Radha Krishnan
- Fielding coach – Steve Rixon
- Performance Analyst – Lakshmi Narayanan
- Physical trainer – Gregory King
- Coach – Gary Kirsten. Eric Simone is also associated with the team as a bowling coach
Kings XI Punjab
- Head coach – Sanjay Bangar
- Video analyst – Ashish Tuli
- Bowling coach – Joe Dawes
- Physiotherapist – Patrick Farhart
Kolkata Knight Riders
- Coach – Trevor Bayliss
- Physiotherapist – Andrew Leipus
- Assistant coach – Vijay Dahiya
- Physical trainer – Adrian Le Roux
- Bowling coach and mentor – Wasim Akram
- Mental skills coach – Rudi Webster
- Batting advisor – WV Raman
- Team analyst – AR Srikkanth
- Head coach – John Wright
- Strength and conditioning coach – Paul Chapman
- Coach – Robin Singh
- Sports nutritionist – Kinita Kadakia Patel
- Mentor – Anil Kumble
- Physiotherapists – Nitin Patel and Robert Gibson
- Bowling coach – Shaun Pollock
- Masseur – Donald Shugg
- Assistant coach – Paras Mhambrey
- Video analyst – CKM Dhananjai
- Fielding coach – Jonty Rhodes
- Head coach – Paddy Upton
- Team manager – Sushil Tulaskar
- Coach – Monty Desai
- Mentor – Rahul Dravid
- Physiotherapist – John Gloster
Royal Challengers Bangalore
- Coach – Daniel Vettori
- Manager – Sankapani
- Bowling coach – Waqar Younis
- Head coach – Tom Moody
- Mentors – VVS Laxman and Krishnamachari Srikkanth
- Assistant coach – Simon Helmot
- Physiotherapist – Theo Kapakoulakis
As can be seen from the above mentioned list, most of the coaches and trainers are from outside India. To add to this some franchises have also decided to choose international players as their leaders in the upcoming season.
Certain questions need to be asked here:
- Why are Indian coaches and trainers not being entrusted with the responsibility of these franchises? Is there an implicit suggestion then, on part of the franchises or other decision-makers, that the Indian coaches are not good enough? If so, then why are not foreign coaches and trainers being asked to train domestic teams as well? Or, is the worry regarding their relative lack of experience and exposure to international cricket?
- Why does the BCCI not organize coaching seminars where they can invite these prominent coaches and trainers and ask them to share their knowledge and experience with their Indian counterparts so that they are able to perform well in tournaments like IPL?
- Is there a worry that the local coaches may not be respected by the overseas cricketers and Indian internationals? If that is the case then the BCCI should be firm in asking the cricketers to follow a proper code of behavior when it comes to interacting with the coaches. Does the BCCI think that the local coaches and trainers may be unable to handle the big names that turn out for the IPL? In that case the coaches need to be provided sufficient backing so that they are able to work fearlessly and give their best.
- Are the franchises or the BCCI wary that without the international big names as coaches they may not receive much publicity and thus the tournament may lose some sheen? Such a line of thinking will betray a complete lack of faith in the quality of cricket seen in the IPL as well as an absence of understanding regarding how Indian media works. At the end of the day if the cricket is not of a good standard the tournament will lose its charm – the coaches may not have a major role to play when it comes to generating publicity.
Considering the fact that this is the Indian Premier League perhaps the coaches and trainers working diligently behind the scenes in Indian domestic cricket need to be acknowledged properly as well and given their due through opportunities to coach IPL franchises. They need to be empowered and not cast aside as unwanted individuals fit only for the supposed lower leagues that act as the base for the superstructure that is Indian cricket.
The international coaches are obviously very knowledgeable and more experienced and this is the reason why they should be involved in grassroots development where they can make more telling contributions instead of a month long tournament like IPL.