While MS Dhoni and Duncan Fletcher bask in glory after passing a hard time for a brief period, in Australia, Mickey Arthur had to face the chin music and leave……
Yesterday, the victory of the Indian cricket team against England at Edgbaston had been a well-deserved one. The joy and jubilation of the Indian team and their fans simply brushed away all the pains and agony of the tumultuous times which this cricket crazy nation had suffered for the last two years or so. The Indian fans have witnessed their favourite men surrender meekly in abroad and, as well as, at home while the recent spot-fixing debacle had totally demoralized them and to relive their spirit this win was like fresh monsoon rain.
Like the fans, the Indian cricket team needed this win as well. They traveled to England without the renowned names and there was doubt whether this young unit would be able to fight like a champion in English conditions and maintain their mental stability amid the spot-mixing fiasco. Hardly anyone wished to put their money on the Indian team. But this young Indian unit proved everyone wrong. With a Daabang-like-mojo India lifted the trophy and taught everyone a lesson about how to travel through the ugly transition period.
During those terrible days, the voices were vociferous to remove captain MS Dhoni. And at that point of time, I wrote a piece in support of MS Dhoni in cricketsoccer stating that it won’t be wise to sack your tried and tested captain but have faith in him. As in any transition period there occurs a situation where one has to play without the services of the stars whose retirements create a vacuum that is hard to fill in the twinkle of an eye. And for which you need an experienced captain to build your team. In that sense, it was wise enough to keep faith in captain MS Dhoni. BCCI kept their faith in Dhoni.
MS Dhoni has paid back the price of keeping the faith in him. He handled the tough situations with enough composure and never concentrated on the mounting conundrums but stuck to the task of building a young side into a formidable unit. Dhoni has been successful. He has delivered his nation the moment to relish.
But aren’t we forgetting another person’s immense contribution alongside MS Dhoni? That person too shared an equal amount of angry response alongside Dhoni during those terrible days. He is none but the Indian team’s coach Duncan Fletcher.
People are praising Dhoni and his men but surprisingly no one is talking about Duncan Fletcher. Why? Has not Duncan been a big support for MS Dhoni during those periods of frustration? Has not Duncan been like a father to this young Indian team? Has not Duncan Fletcher been an architect alongside Dhoni in transforming this Youngistaan into world-beaters? To speak the truth, Duncan Fletcher has been instrumental in building this Indian team. And don’t dare to forget this Zimbabwean maestro but he should be equally praised. Duncan’s chemistry with team India has gelled well – the fighting attitude is back, the hunger for success has been relived and the zest to win at any cost has been reinstalled amongst these men. My instincts tell me that the wily old Zimbabwean coach has a big role in galvanizing this Indian unit.
While the chemistry between Duncan Fletcher and team India has gelled well, on the other hand, in Australia, Mickey Arthur’s chemistry with the Kangaroos didn’t go well. This morning I came to know that he has been sacked as Australia’s coach just two weeks before the start of the Ashes. Former Australia batsman Darren Lehmann, the Queensland coach who is in England with the Australia A team, will take over from Arthur.
I feel sorry for Mickey Arthur as he is a brilliant coach and was highly successful in making the Proteas as one of the best Test sides in world cricket. But with the Australian unit, his theories and work ethics weren’t working at all. Apart from horrifying defeats, the Australian team was dishing out controversies off the field which were absolutely unexpected from such a professional unit. A vicious and poisonous circle developed between the players, captain and coach which made the Australian cricket to suffer big time. Sadly, Mickey Arthur failed to be a father to his team like Duncan Fletcher during Australia’s transition period. His understanding developed neither with the captain nor with the players nor with the Australian cricket’s authority.
But again, just two weeks before the start of such an important series this sudden decision to sack Arthur is not pleasant at all. What actually made the Australian authority to take such a drastic decision remains a moot question. Such actions indicate that the problems are deeper and require perfect solutions. The appointment of Darren Lehman should have been earlier. Or, I should say, there was no need for a South African in the Aussie camp? As only an Aussie will know what is needed for the well being of Australian cricket.
You might question me if I could invest my trust in Fletcher then why not on Arthur? My answer would be that Arthur lacks the composure of Duncan. In managing egos Duncan is a master. Duncan is friendly with the egoistic personalities while Arthur tried to be a high school headmaster with them.
And with the Australians, you can’t be like that. To build an Australian unit you need to handle the egos by creating a friendly atmosphere, an atmosphere where beers will flow and smile will play. The headmaster like attitude isn’t for the Aussies. A trusted and friendly atmosphere is much needed for the Aussies and only an Aussie can provide this. Only an Australian coach can rekindle the lost Australian mojo.