Teachers’ Day XI: A dream team of cricket coaches
One of the most succesful coaches of modern day cricket: Gary Kirsten, who led India to a World Cup win and was behind South Africa reaching the summit of the Test rankings in 2012 © Getty Images
Coaching can be a high pressure job in the modern era with the unforgiving demands for success. Nevertheless, it is a noble profession where someone imparts his knowledge to those who seek guidance. On the occasion of Teachers’ Day, Nishad Pai Vaidya picks a dream team of cricket coaches.
Numerous players have taken up coaching after their playing days were behind them. It is perhaps one way to stay in touch with the game and be as close as possible to all the action. In this modern era, it is a high-pressure job with a lot of media scrutiny and the unforgiving demands for success. Here is an eleven of eminent cricketers who went on to coach national sides. This side is not picked on the basis of their respective coaching record. It is a ‘Dream Team’, a side that could be formidable on its day.
1. Gordon Greenidge: The Barbadian was one of the pillars during West Indies’ glory days. In tandem with Desmond Haynes, Greenidge formed one of the strongest opening stands in history. Post retirement, Greenidge took up the challenge of coaching and was handed a tough assignment in Bangladesh. He was at the helm during the 1999 World Cup, where Bangladesh upset Pakistan and also managed to beat Scotland.
2. Bob Simpson: In the 1950s and 60s, Simpson had a celebrated career for Australia. A decade later, he answered the call of his nation when the team was hit by the Packer-exodus. Simpson could bowl useful leg-spin as well. However, he later became an opening batsman. Simpson took charge of the Australian team in the 1980s and was in charge when they lifted the 1987 World Cup. He has the distinction of being involved in both the tied Test, the first as a player and the second as a coach.
3. Gary Kirsten: The southpaw was a fixture in the South African side for a decade after their readmission in the early 1990s. A gritty batsman, Kirsten added great solidity at the top and later formed a very good partnership with Herschelle Gibbs. He retired from international cricket in 2004 and four years down the line, he was a surprise choice for the coaching job in India. Forming a great partnership with MS Dhoni, India touched great heights which included the No 1 spot in the Test rankings and the ICC World Cup 2011 victory at home. Kirsten then served his nation and masterminded their rise to the No 1 Test spot. He is currently the coach of the Delhi Daredevils.
4. Greg Chappell: One of the greatest batsmen produced by Australia, Chappell is one of the most respected (or hated, depending on who you are) cricketing figures in the world. A cerebral individual, Chappell is one of the best tacticians in the game. In 2005, he took up the high-profile Indian job in the midst of a lot of hype. Though he did taste success for some time, his tenure was largely controversial and ended with the ignominious exit at the 2007 World Cup. Chappell is now working with Cricket Australia (CA) and handles their representative sides to groom young talent.
5. Andy Flower: Undoubtedly the greatest batsman Zimbabwe has produced — a Test average above 50 backs that claim. Flower was one of the most skillful batsmen in the 1990s and the early 2000s, forming a crucial part of the Zimbabwe side. His international career ended in controversial circumstances when he protested against the government during a 2003 World Cup match. He moved to England, where he played for Essex and years later, in 2009, he was in charge of the national side. Under his tenure, England won the Ashes thrice, whitewashed India 4-0 to become the No 1 ranked side in Test cricket. Flower’s time ended after the drubbing in the Ashes 2013-14.
6. Kapil Dev: India’s greatest all-rounder was the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket for a few years. Kapil is an iconic figure in the country for he led India to the 1983 World Cup victory. With all those hopes, he was handed the responsibility of the Indian team in 1999, which was one of the most testing phases in Indian cricket. Kapil’s time lasted for about a year and India had an unsuccessful time. The match-fixing controversy also came to light and Kapil’s name was dragged into it; though he did get cleared later. Heartbroken, he quit the coaching job and big “goodbye” to Indian cricket. It took him almost two years to return to the cricketing fold.
7. Moin Khan: Through the 1990s and the early 2000s, the gloves shuffled between Moin and Rashid Latif. Moin did establish himself as a fighter, who was sound behind the stumps and combative with the bat. He last played for Pakistan in 2004 and took to coaching after retirement. In 2013-14, he took charge of the Pakistan team on an interim basis before Waqar Younis was appointed. Moin subsequently became the manager.
8. Roger Harper: With West Indies favouring pace to maintain their world domination, Harper could only play 25 Tests in an international career that spanned almost 13 years. The off-spinner did however play 105 ODIs, where he also contributed with his quick fielding. He bowed out of international cricket after the 1996 World Cup and four years down the line, he was appointed coach of the West Indies team. Harper held the post for about three years, which were riddled with uncertain results for the side. After quitting from the West Indies job, Harper worked with Kenya.
9. Ottis Gibson: The towering fast-bowler represented the West Indies in the 1990s. He thereafter carved a successful career in county cricket, where he was a force until 2007. After retirement, he was England’s bowling coach. In 2010, Gibson was appointed the coach of the West Indies team. The fortunes of the side did not change much as inconsistency prevailed. They did win the ICC World T20 2012, which remains the biggest highlight of his tenure. Gibson had to leave the job in August 2014 before the home series against Bangladesh.
10. Waqar Younis: One of the greatest fast-bowlers produced by Pakistan, the master of the yorker and an exponent of reverse swing. Waqar played his last game for Pakistan in 2003 and subsequently took up commentary. He was appointed coach of the Pakistan team in 2010. It was a stormy period for Pakistan cricket as they were hit by the spot-fixing scandal in August that year. Despite all that, they did manage to make it to the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup. His time ended in August 2011. In 2013, he was the bowling coach of the Sunrisers Hyderabad. In Pakistan, you can never rule out comebacks! Waqar was named coach again in 2014.
11. Allan Donald: A terrifying sight for any batsman, Donald was one of the best fast bowlers in the 1990s. After readmission, he was a beacon for fast bowlers in South Africa. In the recent past, he has taken up coaching jobs, which includes a stint with the South African side. In the Indian Premier League (IPL), he has coached Pune Warriors India and is currently with the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
12th Man — John Wright: The southpaw was a regular in the New Zealand side for over a decade and their leading run-scorer in Tests and ODIs at one stage. Wright coached Kent, where he worked with Rahul Dravid and then made it to India in 2000. In partnership with Sourav Ganguly, Wright helped India win numerous Test overseas and also took them to the 2003 World Cup final. He bid goodbye in 2005 and in 2010-11, he took charge of the New Zealand side. The Kiwis made it to the 2011 World Cup semi-final then. He quit in 2012 and took up a job with the Mumbai Indians the next year. With so many batsmen, he couldn’t make it into the eleven but fits as a 12th man.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)