Why Team India needs a permanent manager

It is easy to understand the reasons behind Gary Kirsten's request to have a permanent operations manager for the Indian side. It also makes a lot of sense.

In this age of professionalism with added its hi-tech backroom staff, there are more demands to running a side than even a decade ago. Pressure is always on a team to win their games, but if there are concerns about the smooth backroom operations, these have a habit of impacting on the system.

From personal experiences as a player Kirsten knows the value of having a permanent hands-on management operation system and how this can help a team achieve goals and targets.

Well before his Test career began with the Proteas in Australia in 1993, Kirsten was used to a well-structured and settled team dressing room environment with a professionally managed logistical team system. It made for a happier side as well as one that is likely become a lot more competitive.

It was the start of the 1993-94 season and before his Proteas selection when Kirsten learned from the new Western Province coach the value of such in-house backroom organisation and how it helped a side. The coach was Duncan Fletcher who created the ideal module for getting the best out of players.

Part of Fletcher's organised plan had been to improve the team's logistics operation from a haphazard arrangement involving players to one being run smoothly by an official such as a manager to ensure that baggage and the hi-tech equipment, didn't go missing.

Having played under the first five of the seven Proteas captains since the end of isolation, which includes his brief one-match tenure against Pakistan in 1998, Kirsten had a chance to assess the value of an organised team system, as in most cases captains and coaches those first few years were unhappy with the ad-hoc types that were foisted on the team.

These were, as John Wright succinctly pointed out in one criticism of the BCCI operations part of an unwieldly revolving door system with board appointees who rarely brought value to the team and had no idea of what a manager should be doing.

Kirsten though learnt not only from the years when Fletcher was his provincial coach. He would agree as well that Fletcher is well-organised man who knows the value of a full-time management system as a benefit to a successful side.

As Bob Woolmer, when Proteas coach, increased backroom staff and hi-tech aids to help players study their technical as well as tactical skills South Africa by 1994-95 had appointed Goolam Raja as a full-time tour operations manager.

A chemist by profession, Raja is a shrewd, streetwise sort who created a special niche that took on the responsibility of how an effective and efficient management system aided a side's off-the-field welfare needs.

Other countries have similar efficient systems, Australia and New Zealand and until recently, Sri Lanka as well.

all courtesy: cricket next