The coach of a cricketing team is expected to help the team while staying on the sidelines. It is often a thankless job as the stars on the field usually dominate the proceedings. The moment when the coach decides to grab headlines is when matters start getting tricky. It is never ideal for a cricket team to have a coach making frontline news.
Stumpsandbails brings to you a list of 5 such controversial stints of coaching.
#5 Darren Lehmann
Darren Lehmann was one of the most respected coaches in the world. He had a successful track record leading teams to championship victories. He was the coach of the Deccan Chargers in 2009 when they won the IPL title after bagging the wooden spoon in the inaugural edition of the IPL. Lehmann took over the reins of the Australian team from Mickey Arthur when the team was really low on confidence. He made the Australian side a world-beating one.
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Lehmann helped the Aussies bag the ashes in 2013 while also spearheading Australia’s World Cup win in 2015. But the lowest point in Australian cricket came during Lehmann’s stint in March 2018 when the sandpaper gate scandal controversy took the cricketing world by storm. Lehmann admitted that he failed to notice such development despite being the coach and he rightfully resigned from the post later.
#4 Greg Chappell
Greg Chappell’s stint as the Indian coach marked one of the most volatile periods in Indian cricket. Chappell’s name was recommended to the selection panel by former captain, Sourav Ganguly. Ironically Chappell burnt bridges with Ganguly. Ganguly accused Chappell of leaking his conversation with the coach to the media. This did not go down well with Chappell and it ultimately resulted in Ganguly’s ouster as India’s captain.
Chappell was a strict disciplinarian who wanted a fit bunch of youngsters playing the game. During his reign, many players faced the axe; be it Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, VVS Laxman, or Harbhajan Singh. His tenure came to a turbulent end when the Indian team was knocked out in the first round of the 2007 ODI World Cup.
#3 Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble’s appointment as India’s coach in 2016 was welcomed by Indian fans across the globe. The partnership of Virat Kohli as the captain, and Anil Kumble as the coach was expected to reap rich dividends for Indian cricket. Under Kumble’s reign, India had a terrific run winning every series they participated in barring the Champions Trophy Final loss.
India won 12 out of the 17 Tests they played under Kumble’s coaching and ended up losing just 1 Test. But post India’s defeat in the Champions Trophy, Kumble shockingly resigned as India’s head coach citing reservations from the Indian captain. He said he won’t be able to continue as a coach if the captain has doubts regarding his coaching panache.
#2 Bob Woolmer
Coaching the Pakistani cricket team comes with its pros and cons. If you win you will be treated as a demigod but if you lose you will be looked at as a villain. Bob Woolmer was one of the finest readers of the game. He revolutionised the art of coaching when he was at the helm of the South African cricket team in the ODI World Cup, 1999.
So when Woolmer was handed the reigns of coaching Pakistan leading into the cricket World Cup in 2007, great things were expected from him. But nobody could foresee what lied for him in the immediate future. After Pakistan suffered a shocking first-round exit, Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room the next day. The fans suspected foul play but nothing much could come out of the investigation and it was reported as a case of natural death.
#1 Mickey Arthur
Mickey Arthur is one of the most passionate cricket coaches. He has led sides with aplomb whenever he has been handed the coaching responsibility. Arthur masterminded the epic chase of 438 for South Africa against Australia in one of the best ODI games ever played. When he was appointed the coach of the Australian team it was widely expected that he would take Australia to greater heights but it all came crashing down with just one single tour to India.
Australia were 0-2 down going into the 3rd Test against India when Australian coach, Arthur imposed homework on few star players (Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja, and Mitchell Johnson). The players didn’t take the assignment seriously and failed to deliver what was asked of them. Arthur went on to sack these 4 players for a Test match, which resulted in a major controversy. Post the completion of the Test series, Arthur was soon sacked as the coach of the Australian team.