An unhealthy bias to everything alien

India’s foreign complex should have disappeared more than 70 years ago when the nation gained independence, but it has increased. Our penchant for foreign experts, coaches and support staff defies all logic.

Indians at the helm: Virat Kohli-led Team India’s ascent to the top of the cricket rankings has been backed by an excellent group of local support staff and coaches.   -  AP

The Indian cricket team’s overseas tours are looked forward to by not only the establishment and the followers of the country being visited, but also by many former cricketers of that nation. India’s obsession with the game and the need for the media to fill up their pages in print or websites means that even the most ordinary cricketers are interviewed. They speak about their playing days and career and also the current state of the game. There will be the mandatory question about Virat Kohli, just like earlier when it was about Sachin Tendulkar.

That answer is invariably the headline.

Every country has its legends and gleaning information from them about their days and career is eminently readable. But when cricketers, who have barely played a dozen Tests and done nothing extraordinary, are given space to rant against their cricketing establishment, ill-luck or selection injustice, you wonder why this desperation to interview a foreigner.

Write about our stars

The Indian team is doing well, so are the women’s team and the juniors and there is enough material to fill up the sports pages. India’s foreign complex should have disappeared more than 70 ago when the nation gained independence, but it has increased, as can be seen by these interviews of ordinary players. There will be even more when the IPL starts in April, where you will see more foreigners in the dugouts and commentary boxes. Some of course are legends and their participation is most welcome as their expertise and experience will benefit Indian cricket. But the rest are doing jobs that an Indian should have got.

No need for overseas coach

Having an overseas legend as a coach will no doubt help the franchise in terms of tactics and strategy, but he has very little idea about the Indian domestic players and for that he needs an Indian assistant coach, who can guide him. The NCA in Bengaluru produces physical trainers, nutritionists and batting, bowling and fielding coaches every year, but most of them are twiddling their thumbs during the IPL. The franchises will reduce their wage bills by employing more Indians as support staff, and these guys will also work harder than most overseas recruits, who mostly look after the superstars and generally treat the uncapped Indian players shabbily.

The current model can be somewhat acceptable if Indians were offered similar opportunities abroad, but apart from the odd commentators hardly any Indian gets invited as a coach, trainer, nutritionist or in any other supporting role. Does this mean that the Indians are not good enough? That certainly is not the case as Team India’s performances over the last many years prove otherwise.

Home-grown heroes

India, for the last few years, has been the number one team or hovering near the top in all formats. Who were the support staff and coaches during this time? Have they been foreigners? No Sir, it’s Ravi Shastri and Anil Kumble with Sanjay Bangar (batting coach), Bharat Arun (bowling coach) and R.Sridhar (fielding coach).