New Delhi: Following the disastrous performance in England, former captain Anil Kumble must take control of a three-member team that would plan the roadmap for the Indian cricket team and ensure it's always on track, according to cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar.
"The BCCI has a lot on its plate other than managing the Indian cricket team, so it's time the board gave complete charge to perhaps a three-member team (excluding the captain), which could comprise the national coach, the chairman of selectors, and one person who's in charge, who makes the plans, manages the team and liaises with the BCCI to ensure the team is always on track to achieve its goals. I can't think of a better man than Anil Kumble to be assigned this task," Manjrekar said in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
Manjrekar said this team must be well-paid for doing a high-profile and high-pressure job - that of taking care of the biggest brand in Indian cricket, the national team.
The former India cricketer also said that the Indian team underestimated the England series and that cost them heavily. He also suggested that the three-member management team (which he proposed) in the future should earmark important series in the calendar.
"India underestimated the significance of the England tour. As it turned out, it was a series the whole world was watching (and one that decided the No. 1 ranking). In the future the management body described above could decide internally which series deserve the most importance and draw plans accordingly to make sure the best players are available and well prepared for them," he said.
He also highlighted how lack of fitness can overshadow a player's skills. "If you wish to represent India, skills alone are not going to be enough. You also need have close-to-international standards of fitness. This message must be sent out loud and clear to all those aspiring to play for India. Frequent injuries to a player have to be held against him. And once you have the given the necessary powers to the coach, this should not be difficult to achieve," Manjrekar wrote in his column.
India were beaten 4-0 by England and were dethroned from the ICC Test table. Manjrekar said the BCCI should declare its goals in advance even if it's not their style. "If the BCCI announces its goal and its priorities, there will automatically be pressure on everyone connected with Indian cricket, right from the grassroots level, to do what it takes to achieve that goal," he said.
Manjrekar also said that the BCCI should make Test cricket more lucrative. "Test cricket sets the brand value of a country's cricket, so it makes sense for it to be the most lucrative form of the game. Granted, the five-day format doesn't generate that kind of money, but it's always possible to channel the earnings from other formats to Test cricket so that a Rahul Dravid makes more money playing Tests than a Suresh Raina does playing T20," he said.