Dhoni: Coach must know Indian culture

The ideal candidate for the post of India's head coach is one who possesses knowledge of India's culture, said skipper M. S. Dhoni in a press meet before the team embarked on its tour of Zimbabwe.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni... 'We have seen whoever we considered as best (coach) in the past has understood our culture.'   -  PTI

Mahendra Singh Dhoni may be leading a second-string team for a short, limited-overs series to Zimbabwe over the next fortnight. But more than India’s return to international cricket, the focus will be on the appointment of the new coach.

This reflected in Dhoni’s interaction with the media before the Indian team's departure on Tuesday. The limited-overs captain didn’t react to Ravi Shastri’s recent views on the need to elevate Virat Kohli as captain across all formats. But Dhoni did specify that the head coach shouldn’t necessarily be Indian, but needs to be well-acquainted with the diverse Indian culture.

“One of the most important things is that they understand our culture. More than (knowing) Hindi or English, one who understands our culture and our upbringing – the one who understands these sorts of things, he will be better with us,” said Dhoni. “In the past, too, these things were important, and the coaches who have understood better, there has been a difference on the ground.”





Dhoni also hinted that the BCCI’s decision to invite applications was sparked by the unavailability of overseas coaches. Over the last year, the BCCI is understood to have been in discussion with big names like Ricky Ponting, Stephen Fleming, Tom Moody and Daniel Vettori but neither of them showed much interest, citing the pressure and rigours of India’s international calendar.

“It’s not like everyone wants to be the coach, there’s a reason behind it – you have your own family. It’s not like we are playing for six months and not playing for two months, we keep playing,” Dhoni said. “Lots of international coaches, the problem is that we play a lot of cricket. From an availability point of view, we will have to see what is the best option and best for the team.”

The BCCI’s advertisement seeking applications for the head coach mentions that knowledge of a regional Indian language is better for the applicants. Asked if an Indian coach is better for the team, Dhoni said: “I think there is no big problem with communication. You have seen, the kind of players coming in, English is not a big barrier. The other players in the team take the initiative, too,” he said. “If someone doesn’t understand something, they ask ‘what does this mean?’. I feel, it can be a criterion, but it can’t be the only criterion, that Hindi speaking is important. What is important is from a team's perspective, what it needs. And according to that, we have to select whoever is the best available.”

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