The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Dravid’s fault he’s being dominated’
- Chappell’s methods foreign to Indian culture, says Kapil Dev

New Delhi: Kapil Dev on Thursday stressed on the primacy of the skipper in the captain-coach relationship, and said if Rahul Dravid was being overshadowed by Greg Chappell, it was the Karnataka batsman’s own fault.

The former allrounder said the coach or the manager had an advisory role and was only expected to help the captain in cricketing matters.

“The coach can only advise the captain who runs the show on the field.

“If Dravid is being dominated by Chappell in the developing of team strategy, he is himself to be blamed,” the former captain said.

He felt that the captain always held the upper hand in his relationship with the coach.

“The captain is always the dominant player provided he has the confidence of the selectors,” Kapil said during a lead-up event for the Delhi half marathon on Sunday.

Referring to the recent poor results of the Indian team, he said the side had all the ability that is needed in a champion side.

“The only question remaining is about the commitment of the players. The results in the West Indies and Malaysia suggest the players need to work harder,” Kapil said.

Kapil expressed his disapproval of the policy of continuous experimentation with the composition and strategies of the team, saying Indian players performed better when their place in the side was secure.

“Indians are not very comfortable with uncertainty. They need to be sure of their spot in the team to instil confidence in them,” the World Cup-winning captain said.

He attributed this factor to the culture and the general upbringing in the country.

“We need our base to be strong. We are brought up that way. Even in other walks of life, Indians are not very amenable to change,” Kapil said. “We don’t change our bases readily for better jobs and higher salary. We want to stay close to home,” he said.

Indians think differently than Americans, Australians and Europeans, Kapil claimed.

Chappell and Dravid have employed frequent changes to team composition and batting order testing out players in different roles, but Kapil disagreed with the approach. “The experiments employed have to be consistent with the culture of the concerned players, their mindset and environment to be effective,” he stressed.

“If one tells me that pasta is good for me, I may not agree,” he added.

Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne’s claim that international sides did not need a coach today received endorsement from Kapil, who said such specialised assistance was over-rated. “The game should be about the players out on the field rather than the coaches,” Kapil, who himself served in a similar capacity with the Indian team, said.

Kapil said international teams did not need a coach in the strict sense of the word. “Players at the top level do not need coaching. At best, they require slight adjustments in technique.”

“Top cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Dravid do not need a coach at the present stage of their careers. They may need someone who can suggest certain adjustments wherever required,” he said.

If specialised coaching was so valuable, a team would have specialists to help out in all departments of the game, including wicket-keeping, the former captain said. The primary task of a coach with an international side was motivation. “A coach should keep pushing players to get better and not allow them to sit on their laurels,” he said.

It was important that the focus moved from coaching to winning matches, Kapil felt. “At the end of the day, that is what matters the most.”

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