Captain and coach should have right chemistry, says Edgar

Former New Zealand opener Bruce Edgar feels that there should be always a harmonious tension between the coach and the captain of any team for better results.

New Zealand opener Bruce Edgar interacts with coaches at St. John's Cricket Coaching Foundation in Hyderabad on Friday.   -  V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Former New Zealand opener Bruce Edgar feels that there should be always a harmonious tension between the coach and the captain of any team for better results.

In an exclusive chat with Sportstar after speaking to the coaches at the St. John’s Cricket Foundation here on Friday morning, the 60-year-old Edgar says the coach has to work with the captain as it is he who will be backing the players out there in the middle. “I think the captain is much more committed to his players and that is important to have the right chemistry between the two,” says Edgar, who played 39 Tests (1958 runs, 3 x 100, 12 x 50) and 64 ODIs (1814 runs, 1 x 100, 10 x 50) between 1978-86.

Who has been the best coach for you? “Frankly, those days this was not the kind of emphasis on coaches and support staff but still I would rate Glenn Turner as the most technically correct coach,” says Edgar.

Reflecting on the women’s cricket in general and in view of the fact that New Zealand will host the next edition of the World Cup in 2021, Edgar felt that the game is pretty much okay at the top level but it is imperative to have a very strong base of players for a better future. “Underneath it is very weak, not the number of players we would like the way it should be. Need to lay more emphasis on ensuring more girls are into the sport,” he felt.

“Yes, generally the standard of women’s cricket has improved a lot. They are much stronger, powerful, bowling faster, more athletic all of these features being reflected in the performances of the players of late,” Edgar pointed out.

What about the future of New Zealand cricket? “Cricket is still the No. 2 sport back home. Certainly, after the 2015 World Cup, the number of players wanting to play the sport has increased but the biggest challenge is to keep them in the game for long,” he says.

Any discussion with Edgar would be incomplete without reference to the now in-famous under-arm bowling by Trevor Chappel in the 1981 World Series Cricket final at Melbourne when the former was the non-striker with striker Brian Mckechnie needing six of the last ball to ensure a tie.

“I must say it is memorable as people still keep talking about whenever they meet me. I heard even in Australian schools children do discuss how and why such a thing happened. Probably, even the then Aussie captain Greg Chappell would regret that call though it was a legal option. But certainly not in terms of sporting spirit, Edgar recalls.

“But, I must say that that incident not only led retribution between the two countries and led to Big Brother and Small Brother attitude but also captured the imagination of fans and ensured tremendous publicity for the game for the next 15 years,” he says with a big smile. “It is a fact that New Zealanders didn’t like that at all,” he added.

Reflecting on the pay disputes like in West Indies, Australia, Edgar reminds it is because the game has become bigger and the players naturally wanted a bigger share in the revenue.

On Indian cricket, Edgar feels that Virat Kohli’s team is a more complete team capable of beating the best in the world. “You have now world-class batters, spinners and pacers who lend lot of variety to the bowling” he said.

Referring to sledging which he said he faced a lot especially against the likes of former Aussie greats Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee, Edgar says there is no other option but to stay focused. “I remember the days when Thommo used to run into me and provoke. But, invariably, he used to get frustrated at not getting any reaction from me. That is the only way to stay in the battle, your whole world then is within the range of your headgear and nothing else,” he signed off.

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