Permanent Team Manager

Harsha Bhogle laments the absence of a permanent team Manager for the Indian Cricket Team in his latest article for newindpress.

The little things might seem unimportant in the larger picture but they are symptoms of a malaise. Indifference to detail suggests lack of preparation or a certain cockiness; neither needs to be a member of the team. A good touring team has somebody to look after the details so that the performers are free to focus on their job. Even our television crews work like that, a good international team must. Some people take time to settle down in a new environment, some travel badly, some may not like the hustle and bustle or arrive-play-go. A good manager will take control of all this and he becomes a critical component of a touring party.


The team reached Bulawayo barely 24 hours before the match. The hot afternoon Bulawayo (which means "place of slaughter" in native Ndebele) climate is less forgiving and takes time adjusting to (even for people from the sub-continent). This whole itinerary fiasco could have been avoided if the team had a permanent manager with well-defined responsibilities.

The concept of having a permanent manager started in Australia in 1984 when Bob Merriman, current chairperson of the national cricket board, became the first full time team manager. Their current manager, Steve Bernard has been with the team since the 97-98 season. South Africa has Goolam Rajah in a similar position. Even Zimbabwe (who have got everything else wrong) has someone like Babu Memon holding a permanent position.

But for the Indian team, as Harsha mentions, it is more of a handout job. It has been widely reported that Greg Chappell has asked the BCCI to appoint a permanent manager as part of the support staff. Hope he gets what he wants, sooner or later.

Being heckled by the rival team captain about your lack of planning (esp. some thing as mundane as itinerary planning) doesn't really look good on paper. Does it?
"I am a bit surprised at Indians' late arrival at the venue," said Fleming. "It will be interesting to see how they manage their energies. If they win then obviously it is a smart move but if they struggle, as I expect them to struggle, it wouldn't be such a smart move."

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