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It is captains and players who win or lose matches not coaches: Ian Chappell


Australian great Ian Chappell doesn’t understand all the fuss over the resignation of Justin Langer, saying it is the captain and players who win matches not the coach. Chappell also advocated replacing the coach position with a manager.

After months of complaints regarding his style of coaching, Langer had quit as chief coach, leading to criticism of Pat Cummins from former players, who slammed the skipper and his teammates for not publicly supporting him. “The demotion of Justin Langer caused Australian hysteria to reach the Monty Python comedy stage, where someone screeches, ‘He’s not the Australian coach he’s a very naughty boy’,” Chappell wrote in a column in ESPNcricinfo.

“Cricket fans tend to take more notice of who is or isn’t the coach rather than focusing on the important matter of the appointed captain. Pat Cummins and his charges take the wickets, make the runs and handle the chances. It is they, not the coach, who will win or lose the upcoming series in Pakistan.”

Chappell said international cricketers don’t need round the clock coaching and any technical issue is best sorted by fellow players. “Anybody who thinks international players need coaching and mollycoddling 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is confused. International techniques don’t disintegrate,” he wrote.

“Players might encounter a problem along the way but what goes wrong is generally in the head. A decent natter with a preferred senior player in the team usually sets the cricketer on the right path. “Why are fellow players the best international coaches? For starters they are playing against the same players. They are also out in the middle in the heat of battle and understand the trying consequences. They also see their fellow competitors regularly and will quickly notice any change in technique or mental approach.”

The 78-year-old feels “it’s much more important to have well-credentialed selectors choosing the right squad than it is to have the public ranting about coaches.”

“Using the title “head coach” is a mistake. Anybody looking after a team should have the word “manager” in their title. “If the captain, with the help of a few trusted aides, runs the cricket side of the game and the management concentrates on off-field matters, a team will be very competitive. An international coach should be something the Australian team travels in on a tour of England.”

Cummins had described Langer as a legend with a fierce love of Australia and also acknowledged his influence on the team but said the national side needed a new style of coaching. Lavish praise on Cummins, Chappel wrote: “Cummins is a smart cricketer. He is a good captain because he understands bowling, approaches the game with a common-sense attitude, and has tough competitors around him.

“He also competes fiercely on the field and has no time for any hijinks; his team generally plays in a similar vein. There’s no doubt Cummins will experience tougher days than those he encountered against England. He will also have to fight through the occasional frustration – that’s the life of a captain.

“Nevertheless he will establish his reputation as a good captain for the simple reason that he’s a solid leader. His captaincy will be recognised because of his own efforts.” Chappell had earlier called the past players supporting Justin Langer as his “PR machine”.





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