‘On paper’ is a tricky term in sport. Like, the Virat Kohli-led India were favourites ‘on paper’ to defeat Pakistan in Champions Trophy final, but what transpired on field was opposite.
The occurrences post that title clash loss saw Indian cricket go through a tumultuous time, culminating in a day-long drama involving confusion, denial and acceptance. The outcome of the potboiler has given India – on paper, that is – a winning combination.
Just imagine, the exciting Virat Kohli taking tips from one of the greatest batsmen ever – Rahul Dravid. While the likes of Jasprit Bumrah are polishing their skills under the best lefthanded Indian pacer, Zaheer Khan. And all this is happening under the watchful eyes of one of India’s top all-rounders, Ravi Shastri. Indian cricket cannot imagine a more picture perfect moment.
But then again comes the ‘on paper’ factor. The presence of heavyweights definitely gives edge but it can also add to the burden.
For reference, one can always go back to the resignation statement by ex-India coach Anil Kumble, where he termed his relation with captain Virat Kohli as ‘untenable’. That there was an ego clash between the two big names was largely apparent.
Anil Kumble was not Kohli’s first choice as India coach but was rather imposed on him by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) including Sourav Ganguly, SachinTendulkar and VVS Laxman.
However, Kohli finally had his way when on Tuesday as Shastri was named the India head coach. But what he probably wasn’t expecting was two surprise addons – Zaheer Khan as bowling coach and Rahul Dravid as overseas batting consultant.
Incidentally, during his tenure, Kumble had reportedly recommended Zaheer as the pace bowling coach. Dravid, meanwhile, was a long-time teammate of Kumble in India ranks and also Karnataka. The duo’s presence in the dressing room for future tours has surely made the Indian support staff a star-studded line-up. But it has also given Kohli extra egos to handle.
The captain’s rapport with Shastri is well known. With Dravid and Zaheer also among the ranks, insights and instructions won’t be in short supply. The onus, however, will be on Kohli to implement those on field.