After the BCCI decided to extend the coaching application deadline, some interesting names were bound to crop up. After all, even after all the controversy that surrounded the last man and his abrupt departure, the position of India coach remains one of the most coveted positions in the game.
So, it came as no surprise when Mahela Jayawardene’s name started to do the rounds as the possible successor to Anil Kumble, who stepped down last week after falling out with the Indian team captain Virat Kohli and several of the players.
As it sits, the other known candidates are Tom Moody, Virender Sehwag, Richard Pybus, Lalchand Rajput and Dodda Ganesh.
It was understandable why the BCCI, knowing that there was bound to be more interest, now that Kumble was not going to be in the hunt to continue as the India coach, asked for fresh applications, extending the deadline to July 9.
There is still plenty of time for the bigger names of the game to throw their hat in the ring, but one name that is already out there is that of Jayawardene, the man who guided the Mumbai Indians to the IPL 2017 title as the head coach. If Jayawardene, who is also being linked with the vacant Sri Lanka head coach position, applies, the question is will he be a good fit?
Let us take a look:
A true legend of the game undoubtedly :
While the Kumble thing didn’t work out, having a legend of the sport is definitely a plus point. The coach has been there and done that, won titles, won Test matches and Test series and knows what needs to be done when the pressure is on.
More crucially, because you are such a big name, the players, the youngsters and seniors alike, will listen to what you have to say, owing to the fact that the respect will naturally be there. That is a point that works in Jayawardene’s favour.
Kumble might be calm on the outside, but he is not someone who likes to keep quiet in the dressing room, as the Indian players found out.
Will there be a similar problem with Jayawardene? Highly unlikely.
As Rohit Sharma and several other players said, Jayawardene is a soothing influence in the dressing room, and when you are calm, cool and collected the players will listen to you.
Being the coach of a team while several of the players are your contemporaries can be a double edged sword. While there will be a good rapport and understanding because your thought processes are possibly alike, things could sour soon, if the egos clash and the players, who recently saw the coach as a friend, is suddenly asked to be seen as the boss.
You feel with Jayawardene, and taking his personality into account, that might not be a problem, and he did handle working with his former teammate Lasith Malinga quite well, but, ideally, a coach shouldn’t be a contemporary.
The most important aspect for any coach is man management, and that is precisely where Kumble fell short. Jayawardene showed his man-management skills while leading the Mumbai Indians to the IPL 2017 title, but in a bigger environment, with larger egos and more experience, will it be a problem?
Of the regulars in the Indian team, Jayawardene has already worked with a few of them, and that too with great success. During his time with the Mumbai Indians, Jayawardene coached Rohit, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Parthiv Patel with all of them speaking glowingly of the Sri Lankan legend.
That bodes well, if he applies and eventually gets the job.
Kohli compatibility Scale:
Now that Kohli has been established as the main man in the team, any coach that comes in will know his position will become “untenable” if he doesn’t strike up a rapport with the captain. Kohli is a win-at-all-costs man who likes to have someone to act as a sounding board, and also someone who can give the right advice when the captain needs it.