Chandrakant Gulabrao Borde, affectionately called Chandu Borde, has been entrusted the task of managing Team India at a time when Greg Chappell resigned as coach after the World Cup debacle, his replacement Ravi Shastri refused to continue after the Bangladesh tour and both Graham Ford and John Emburey turned down the Board of Control for Cricket in India's offer to take over after being interviewed by its panel.
Certainly, the former India all-rounder is quite capable of guiding the Indian team, at least for the time being. His record, both as player and administrator, speaks for itself.
In an exclusive interview with Haresh Pandya, the 72-year-old talks about his new responsibility and ability to handle things smoothly.
How do you feel now that the BCCI has appointed you manager of Team India at this stage of your career? Were you surprised?
I am obviously very happy that the BCCI has considered me good enough to manage Team India. Why should I feel surprised? No, I am not!
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But people tend to forget old cricketers in this country, don't they?
Well, it is their problem. But I am still very much involved with the game in many ways. In fact, I have just returned from Mohali after coaching Under-16 and Under-19 players.
Don't you think there are high expectations of you on the twin tour of Ireland and England, because Team India is going overseas without a chief coach for the first time in many years?
Well, expectations are always high of any person, whether he is a player, a coach or a manager. All I know is that the Indian team is a very balanced one and capable of performing very well anywhere in the world.
How do you look at your own role on the twin tour?
I have received a letter from the BCCI, appointing me the manager for the twin tour. Apart from managing the side, I really do not know what exactly is expected of me. I will have to discuss with the BCCI officials as well as the team members. But I am an experienced player and have not done badly as an administrator either in the past.
Considering your age, would there be some sort of generation gap between you and the members of Team India?
I do not think so. Generation gap, as you put it, is only in the mind. If a person is young at heart and if his approach towards youngsters is frank and friendly, there can never be any problem. What we, the officials as well as players, must remember is that we are working towards one goal -- to bring laurels for the country. Besides, as I told you, I have just returned from Mohali after being with younger cricketers. And I did not feel any generation gap with them; nor did they.
Does a team, full of talented and experienced batsmen and bowlers, really require a coach? It was quite unheard of in your playing days.
Having a coach accompanying a cricket team is a reality now. And this practice has been going on for quite some time now. The results are also there for all to see. The cricket that was played in my days was obviously quite different from what you see today. But you have to change with the times. So, it is all right to have a coach or a number of coaches. Ultimately, he is there for the good of the team only. And we all know the benefits of having a coach.
Are you happy with the teams selected for the ODIs and Tests for the Ireland and England jaunt?
Yes, both the teams are very good. No complaints. We have a nice blend of senior and junior players in both the teams. I must compliment the selectors, who have done an excellent job.
How do you rate Rahul Dravid as a captain?
He is a good, intelligent captain who works very hard towards his game. He has earned respect of not only his players but also of the other teams of the world. What more can a player ask for?
You used to call Sourav Ganguly 'Gaurav Ganguly'. Any particular reason for calling him so?
Well, wasn't he the pride of the whole nation? Didn't he rebuild the Indian team and take it to the pinnacle of success? I was very happy about Ganguly and the success he brought for Team India as a player and captain. So I used to call him Gaurav Ganguly. Of course, he still is the pride of India.
How do you rate India's chances in the Test series in England?
I am very hopeful that we have a very good chance of winning in England. We have a very strong, balanced side. Our batsmen and bowlers are quite experienced. As I said, the team is an excellent combination of youth and experience. There is no reason why we should not do well in England. I am an optimistic person, always!