'Coach, captain need to work in tandem'

'Coach, captain need to work in tandem'

'Coach, captain need to work in tandem'
The Kumble-Kohli episode has left Indian cricket reeling in shock and disbelief. It has also triggered a debate on the role of the coach in the team. In an interview with Pragya Tiwari of DH, former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin termed it a sad event and asked the authorities to ensure that such an incident does not repeat in the future. While Azhar confessed his profound respect for Kohli as a batsman and captain, he viewed Kumble's exit as a big loss to Indian cricket, especially now with India having a string of foreign tours.

How do you see this clash between Kumble and Kohli?
It's very sad. I have a lot of respect for both Kumble and Kohli. I must say it was very graceful of Kumble to resign once he found it was not possible for them to reconcile. He has done a terrific job as coach. Obviously, his exit is a big loss to the Indian cricket. I also feel that the Board or Cricket Advisory Committee (Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman) should act fast in getting a new coach because we now have a long list of foreign tours with Sri Lanka being the next. The conditions there are tough, and we need a coach at the earliest.

What awaits the next coach?
The next coach will be under tremendous pressure from the day he will take over. He will be under a lot of scrutiny from the people, especially the media. Everything he will do will be under a scanner, including his relationship with the captain. I honestly wouldn't like to be in that position.

How was the captain-coach dynamics in your time? You had a healthy working relationship with Ajit Wadekar.

During my time, the coach's job was not so high profile. It has gained prominence only in the last 10-15 years. The difference of opinions, however, existed in our times too. It is what the present generation faces and so will the future. It is common and it all comes down to how you deal with it.

Tell us more about your equation with Wadekar.
My relationship with sir (Wadekar) was a very positive one. When sir came during the tour of South Africa, he saw what was going on. He then enforced some rules and regulations, like the way we used to go for dinners etc., during the matches. He stopped that and brought focus on cricket. Some rules were very strict but we followed them. That is when we also started getting the results. He was very strict, but he brought discipline in the team. At the same time, he had a great sense of humour, he was very involved, and would even bat at the nets. He was like a father figure and hats off to him the way he managed everything. Even Anshuman (Gaekwad) bhai was fantastic.

Ideally, should it be a coach's team or a captain's team?
It won't be fair to say whether it should be coach's team or captain's team. Both need to work in tandem. Cricket is not football where once a team does poorly, it is the coach who becomes the first person to be sacked. It is important that there is a good relationship between the coach and captain, and that can happen despite them disagreeing on matters.

Does a captain need a coach in order to perform better?
A captain's job is very difficult. He is always occupied and even when he is not playing, there is always something going on at the back of his mind. He can't look after everything. So you need a coach who can support him and give him the edge. Coach's job in today's world, too, is very tough.

What are your views on the current state of affairs in the BCCI?
What I gather from the news is BCCI is supposed to follow the Lodha Committee recommendations as it is the order of the Supreme Court. They also recently met to discuss the recommendations. I believe it will be good for the Board. But the quicker they adopt it the better it will be for the game. It will help the Board, hopefully, to function smoothly like before and all the talk around it will also end.
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