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Azhar as coach of Team India: Gaekwad says yes, cricket fans say no
The willingness of Mohammad Azharuddin to work as coach of the Indian team has drawn mixed reactions from former cricketers and cricket fans across the country. Speaking in his favour, Anshuman Gaekwad, former Indian cricketers says: 'He was one of the best captains of India; his leadership skills were very good.'

Gaekwad knows Azhar personally, as Azhar also captained India when Gaekwad was the coach of the Indian team. He said, “If he is a good captain, he can be a good coach as well. He has his moves well planned. I feel somebody who has that knowledge and understanding of the game – half the coach job is done.”

One of the hurdles in Azhar’s way might come from the BCCI, as Gaekwad says: “It all depends on what the BCCI thinks about it.”

Nishath Nizar, a sports journalist, does not find in Azhar an ideal coach for India. When asked if Azhar should be made the coach, he replied in the negative. “I don't think so. He moved into politics after cricket. He has lost the grasp of the game. It might be difficult for him to get into the groove of cricket.”

For players like Gary Kirsten who moved into coaching after retiring from cricket, it might be easier than someone who has been out of the game for many years like Azhar.

Another Indian cricket fan, Shiv Sunny echoes the views of Nizar. He feels that Azhar is not suitable for coaching the Indian team, but Sunny has his own reasons. “Though Azhar has good leadership skills, but now he is already a politician, so it would not be a good choice. His interest (politics and cricket) is going to clash as well and he would not be able to focus on his work,” Sunny told this citizen journalist .

Azhar was involved in a controversy for many a years for his alleged involvement in a match fixing case. This is still fresh in the minds of the Indian fans as one of the worst moment in Indian cricket history. This incident overshadowed his accomplishments on the cricket ground, though he has been given a clean chit now. On the same lines, Sunny further asks, “The team needs to trust him. So will the Indian team respect him, in spite of being cleared by the court?”

For Nizar, Anil Kumble is the best person for the post. “Anil Kumble is an ideal candidate. He has a mentor kind of an attitude within the Indian team. Has has good leadership skills. People respect him a lot as well,” he suggests.

But there are a number of contenders for the post that include, inter alia, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. Gaekwad bats for an Indian coach. But, the BCCI has been going for foreign coaches. Gaekwad adds, “We had Indian coaches in the past, such as Ajit Wadekar, Sandeep Patil, Madan Lal and myself. There is no big difference in the success rate of the Indian coaches and foreign coaches. That itself answers it.”

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