Karsan Ghavri, the head coach of the 2019-20 Ranji season’s title-winning team Saurashtra, reckons good man-management will bridge the age-gap between the coach and the players. Last year, the BCCI had specified that they only wanted applicants below the age of 60 as part of the coaching staff.
Though, in the end, a first-innings affair, the Ranji Trophy final was fascinating. Perhaps the most memorable frame was when Arun Lal, the Bengal coach, walked up to Ghavri and embraced him after the result of the match had become obvious. At 64 and 69 respectively, Lal and Ghavi are proving that age really is just a number.
These cases are, however, not in isolation. Chandrakant Pandit, who will turn 59 in a few months, was the mastermind behind Vidarbha’s back-to-back title triumphs in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Delhi have done well to supply talent to the Indian team and India A under their 57-year-old coach KP Bhaskar, while Tamil Nadu reached the finals of the Mushtaq Ali T20 and the Vijay Hazare under Divakar Vasu this season.
According to Ghavri, what makes the difference is how the old guards find ways to gel with their players.
“If you know man-management, you can be friends to the players who are half your age. At first-class level, it’s not about teaching the basics to the players. Good man-management keeps the confidence level high,” Ghavri told The Indian Express.
The generation gap is cited — check BCCI’s advertisement for reference — as a disadvantage for the older coaches. But, both Lal and Ghavri gelled brilliantly with good man-management skills — with the latter offering an example of the same.
“Harvik Desai dropped Anustup Majumdar on the fourth day when he was on 18. It could have been very costly for us. If Majumdar had stayed there for an hour (on the fifth day), the game would have gone in Bengal’s favour. Luckily he got out early (on the fifth day). But there was absolutely no blame game in our dressing room, when he was building a partnership. Good man-management creates a happy dressing-room atmosphere. Players forget mistakes and carry on. They start afresh,” Ghavri added.