Friday, August 24, 2007

A “tale” of two coaches

I am not much of a magazine reader, except for Cricinfo Magazine. And if my newsagent is to be believed, it is probably going out of circulation. That would be a real shame, but that is not the reason for this post.

On a lark, I picked up the latest copy of Outlook, a general interest magazine in India. And it carried an opinion piece that made me wonder whether I was missing out anything at all by not reading magazines.

The piece is titled Only One Bully Here, and it compares Greg Chappell, the former Indian coach who led India nowhere in the Cricket World Cup, and Kabir Khan, who coached India’s women hockey team to victory in the World Cup. Before you begin to wonder when India won the Women’s Hockey World Cup, Kabir Khan is the hero of the Bollywood film title Chak De India. And while the author admits at the beginning that the comparisons “seem almost ludicrous,” he goes ahead and does a serious job, analyzing “how and why the two men achieved such different results, how both tried similar lines of attack, but one ended up with a triumphant smile and the other left his job in absolute disgrace.”

Well, there is a simple reason the results are so different – one is real life and the other is reel life. The rest of the reasoning is purely a function of that. Kabir Khan can afford to tell his prima donna Bindia, “this team can have only one bully and that’s me,” and it is sure to have the right impact because the film’s director would have scripted Bindia’s response appropriately. But if Chappell had tried the same with Saurav Ganguly, who would have played director?

I kept checking back and forth to figure out whether the article was written tongue-in-cheek, but it does not seem to be. One possible opportunity could be to get the film’s director to coach the Indian cricket coach (if and when there is one). Except that the person will have to coach the Indian players also to get them to respond appropriately to the coach. And the opposition so they fall for the coach’s plans and let India win.

I don’t think I’ll pick up another magazine in a hurry.

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