Coaching in this wonderful game of cricket is nothing less than a challenging art. Coaching in cricket is all about educating well known and relatively unknown cricketers with the tricks and trades of the game. The most challenging and daunting aspect about coaching though, is about dealing with the varied mindsets of the players, and then making them aware about the need to adapt to the different conditions presented to them. The role of coaching has taken a lot more significance in the 21st century, with the technology too advancing ahead at the highest pace. These days, the coaches need to closely monitor the functioning of individuals minutely, before they are targeted by the opposing forces.
Cricket has witnessed some really outstanding coaches, who have found great success. But for a coach, it is the degree to which he instills confidence within the players that counts, and not just the statistics of his results. The likes of John Buchanan and Bob Woolmer have redefined the success which a coach in the game can attain. While the late Bob Woolmer found great success with South Africa and Pakistan, Buchanan statistically was the greatest cricket coach of all time. But in this article, we have a look at those coaches who have been inspiring as well as utterly positive. Buchanan, at times was ridiculed by his own team members, thus it wouldn’t be fair for the other coaches to accommodate Buchanan in the list.
We now shall come across the top 5 coaches the game has ever seen.
5. Mike Hesson (New Zealand):
Hesson, with the integration of Brendon McCullum as the captain just changed the face of New Zealand cricket. The Kiwis earlier were not feared to a great extent as they hardly played the sport while giving their 100%. But once Hesson was given full authority, he made McCullum the skipper of the national side, and that was one hell of a decision. When two aggressive forces in the form of Hesson and McCullum collaborated, it only meant stellar success for New Zealand. The Blackcaps prospered immensely with Hesson around as they made it to the finals of the 2015 World Cup, a feat which they had never achieved before. More than anything else, it was the aggressive brand of cricket which New Zealand put on display, which was crucial in making them a successful side.
4. Dav Whatmore (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Zimbabwe):
Having coached as many as four national teams, Whatmore surely has experience up his sleeve. The most pleasing part about Whatmore’s coaching was that he was able to sustain great confidence in the teams which he coached. Whatmore also was that sort of a leader who strictly believed in keeping things as simple as possible. He didn’t coin any complicated strategies, but just spoke with affection for his players, and that always did the trick. His biggest achievement though, was to coach the victorious Sri Lankan side of the 1996 World Cup. While managing a disturbed Bangladesh side, he played the key role of making the players believe in their abilities. The result of that was very positive, as Bangladesh for the first time, made it to the second round of a World Cup.
3. Andy Flower (England):
Known to be a crafty and elegant southpaw during his playing days, Flower carried that legacy even while coaching England. Flower was named as the director of cricket in England in April 2009, after the Poms had suffered utter misery in the Caribbean. The results were on display from Day one itself as England under the guidance of Flower seemed to be a side full of life and positivity. Flower’s first achievement was to regain the urn for England in 2009, when they defeated the visiting Aussies in England. However, the one exceptional feat of Flower would be to coach England to an ICC Trophy glory, the nation’s only ICC trophy till date. It was the 2010 T20 World Cup, and with Flower around, England stormed to glory. Andy Flower was also integral in guiding England to grandeur in the 2010/11 Ashes in Australia, as England thrashed the Kangaroos in their own backyard. In August 2011, after whitewashing India, England became the number one ranked test side, and once again the credit was given to Flower.
2. John Wright (India, New Zealand):
Wright was India’s first overseas coach, and his rapport with skipper Sourav Ganguly was instrumental in shaping up Indian cricket into a force worth reckoning in. Wright’s stint with team India from 2000-2005 was like a typical drama movie as it dealt with numerous hardships. But at the end of the day, Wright ensured that his side got to their destination. Wright was instrumental in introducing some worshipped Indian names into the affairs of cricket. The likes of Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and MS Dhoni got introduced to international cricket under the coaching of John Wright. Wright as a coach played the role of motivating the players to a great extent. With Wright at the helm of the affairs, India made it to the final of the 2003 World Cup. In tests, the Indians simply flourished as they defeated Pakistan in Pakistan, and retained the Border Gavaskar Trophy in Australia. Not to forget, Wright also successfully coached New Zealand, as the Kiwis made it to the semi finals of the 2011 World Cup played in the subcontinent.
1. Gary Kirsten (India, South Africa):
Kirsten was undoubtedly the greatest coach the game of cricket was blessed to have! After being appointed as the coach of the Indian side, Kirsten set forward a clear set of goals. One of the goals was to make India the number one test side in the next 18 months to follow. A lot of Indians just laughed that off, as it was considered way too unrealistic. However, Kirsten made the impossible possible, as India soon held the mace in tests. The likes of Zaheer Khan, Tendulkar and Sehwag were at their best with Kirsten around. But the one feat that makes Kirsten a worshipped figure in India was the way he coached the Indians to glory in the 2011 World Cup. Another reason why Kirsten got all the respect was that he treated the team members like his own family. Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh said that they saw their elder brother in Gary Kirsten. Kirsten often trained and jogged with the Indian side and was an ideal coach. After a glorious stint with India, Kirsten also became South Africa’s most successful coach, as the Proteas soon became the number one ranked test side.