The MS Dhoni Gary Kirsten partnership worked wonders for India as they teamed up well to bring home the World Cup after a 28-year wait © Getty Images
The MS Dhoni Gary Kirsten partnership worked wonders for India as they teamed up well to bring home the World Cup after a 28-year wait © Getty Images

The appointment of Indian cricket Head Coach has been the talk of the town of late. Since Ravi Shastri’s tenure as the Team Director ended after the ICC World T20 2016, India are yet to find a suitable candidate. Many names were thrown around, with Rahul Dravid allegedly leading the race. For the tour to Zimbabwe, Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) appointed Sanjay Bangar as the Head Coach for the interim period, rewarding him for his exceptional work with the national side in the past year. Yet, choosing him on a long-term basis is definitely not the way forward, considering his lack of experience. While Shastri and Dravid are definitely a viable option, the bigger question that looms is: why not a foreign individual? ALSO READ: Jason Gillespie declines applying for India head coach position

BCCI surprised everyone after announcing that the applicant for the Head Coach post preferably should have knowledge of Indian language. Similar thoughts were echoed by limited-overs skipper MS Dhoni, who believes the new coach should know the Indian culture. The above two statements seemed to hint towards an Indian coach coming aboard. But, if history is anything to go by, Indian cricket team’s glory years have come under a foreign coach.

Since 1992, India have appointed 10 head coaches/team directors, with six of them being Indian and rest four from abroad. Barring the ill-fated reign under Greg Chappell, Team India have enjoyed tremendous success under foreign coaches. ALSO READ: Venkatesh Prasad in race for India head coach job

Under the first foreign coach John Wright, India did incredibly well on foreign tracks as well. Wright, along with Sourav Ganguly, transformed India into a force to be reckoned with. It was under Wright’s leadership India reached the final of ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 and went toe-to-toe with every opponent, including the mighty Australians. By the time he left, foundation was laid down for history to be created.

Next up after him was Greg Chappell, and well, he was the only exception to the lot. Under him, results weren’t up to the mark, and the team’s morale was at an all-time low. The much publicized spat between him and Ganguly will always remain in the memories of cricket fans. By the time he left, Indian cricket team had reached new lows, and rebuilding needed to be done. His stint can probably be the only reason why fans would want an Indian coach.

And then, in came Gary Kirsten, who along with MS Dhoni gave India its golden years. After all the problems under Chappell, Kirsten came in and brought the team together. His calm influence was very similar to Dhoni’s, and they formed one of the greatest ever coach-captain pairing. Under his guidance, India reached No. 1 in all formats, and also won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. He ended his contract on a high, and it was because of him that Indian cricket scaled new heights.

India’s previous and last foreign coach was Duncan Fletcher, who had a decent stint to say the least. While India had a torrid away record under him, they did win the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 as well as winning six back-to-back series. What gave him away was his team’s display and records on away soil, which was shockingly poor.

The six Indian coaches did their best, but none of them could bring in the amount of success John Wright or Gary Kirsten did. Both these coaches revamped the Indian cricket through their style, for which they will always be indebted. The likes of Ravi Shastri in his short stint instilled belief in the side, but when it comes to results, even he could not match the two foreign recruits.

It is strange to wonder why all the talk is about BCCI having their sights on Indian coach, considering the brilliant performances of Wright and Kirsten in the past. Whosoever may be the coach, it is the players that have to perform. But in the end, a foreign coach can probably bring out more from the Indian players, which can be a point of note for BCCI during the recruitment period.

(R Narayan is a reporter with CricketCountry, and is an ardent cricket and football enthusiast (big Manchester United fan). Having followed cricket since 2003, he likes high scoring matches as well as good fast bowling. His Twitter handle is @RNarayan24nov)