So Graham Ford has been appointed as the new Indian coach after months of pondering and consultations. Hopefully, he will do it for Indians what even the top cricket minds failed to do, transforming an always talented Indian team into a winning Indian team. What makes him the choice? There can be many reasons for choosing Graham Ford for the high profile and unimaginably lucrative and full with pressures’ job. One thing which is certain for Ford before shouldering this huge responsibility about the job is that it will not be easy at all. I think in my earlier column “What the BCCI has learnt from the Chappell episode?” that BCCI should not go for another authoritarian personality who likes to talk hard and for that uses different tactics. They abstain from taking that kind of rushed decision by rejecting Dev Whatmore. On the contrary, they short listed two characters John Emburey and Graham Ford for the job who are from the outlook don’t look like to be too imposing figures.
Especially Emburey won’t be able to do that with this star studded Indian side because his credentials are not good enough to do that kind of role. Whereas Ford is known to be highly low key person which has gone certainly in his favor because of the growing influence of media in Indian cricket, their first choice should have been a person who can resist the temptation of being seen in newspapers often. Ford will not be like that, he is not someone who will sit and send text messages, emails from here, there and everywhere to catch the public eye. He is tailor made for that kind of eschewing which is required in Indian set-up if you possess celebrity status. Here he got the first tick in his favour.
Secondly, the thing which could have played a part in his appointment may have been his working experience with athletic South Africans. BCCI may want him to change this Indian side into a far more athletic and electrifying bunch of players which is like gold in the current cricket world with growing amount of cricket and advantage attached with being agile and proactive fielders. It will not be like an apple pie. Turning Asians especially Indian and Pakistani cricketers into natural fielders proves to be the toughest part of every coach’s job. Enhancing fitness can be achieved through strenuous diet program, fitness drills, and camps and all that highly scientific research based techniques. Fielding is not just about fitness. It is about the likeness for the task. It comes after hours and hours of hard practice on the field. It depends on your will. Can and will Ford push them? It will not be easy for him either.
Thirdly, he does not bring in too many credentials with him. He is a former coach of South Africans where he was very successful with them. But other than that, he has his share of success but nothing which could have grafted another ego in a team where individuals are fairly accomplished rather than a team. He cannot say that he did this in that series, he set the game up like that in 1980s against England or he planned the dismissal of a certain player like that in that famous series which certainly cropped up a system based on “Look to do it as I have been doing it over the years”. Ford gets another tick in this box as well.
Hopefully, he will get things right with Indian team because strong Asian teams are necessary for balance of power in cricket world. At the moment, it is polarized but has single pole.