India must eradicate corruption and nepotism to emulate Australia’s success: Noel Carr

Australia has achieved great success in different sports. It is one of the world’s top teams in cricket in which it has produced the great Don Bradman, it has rugby and hockey teams which are among the best in the world, and it has produced legendary tennis champions like Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, John Newcombe, Margaret Court and others. In the Tokyo Olympics of 2021, Australia stood 6th in the medal table with 46 medals which included 17 gold. To top it all Australia has qualified for the FIFA football World Cup’s final phase on four occasions in the past and it is now competing in the 2022 edition at Qatar.

What makes Australia such a formidable sporting nation? Is there a lesson that India can learn from the example of Australia?  India had defeated Australia in football in the 1956 Olympics. Now Australia has risen to great heights while India has sunk without a trace. India has more human resources and a vastly larger talent pool. In terms of population Australia has approximately 26 million people. India has a population of approximately 1,400 million people.

One of the people who can provide an insight to this issue is former Ranji trophy cricketer Noel Carr who played and coached in Hyderabad before moving to Australia and settling down there. A strong fast bowler, Noel could trouble the best batsmen of his days with his seam movement. On one occasion he achieved the rare distinction of capturing all ten wickets in an innings against the strong State Bank of Hyderabad team.

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Later he became an A level certified coach from the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy and achieved success as a coach too. He was among the first to spot and guide the talents of Ambatti Rayudu (who was also coached by Vijay Paul), Hanuma Vihari, Abhinav Kumar, Alfred Absalom, Anoop Pai and others. Noel worked at St. John’s Coaching Foundation where VVS Laxman too spent his early years. For his dedicated contributions, Noel was honoured with the Pride of Andhra Pradesh award in the year 2000.

When the Victoria Cricket Association of Australia invited him to officiate in the Melbourne league before giving him a full time coaching assignment, it was recognition in a foreign land of his ability and commitment. Thereafter he moved with his family to Australia where he saw the system from close quarters as a coach and umpire. He feels that India must make changes to become a modern sports power.

Noel told this correspondent: “Australian culture is different from ours. They are more direct in their speech. We feel hesitant to say some things because we feel that the person hearing our words will feel hurt. Sometimes we offer false praise. In Australia they say whatever has to be said without bothering about sentiment. This is good because the boys understand clearly what they have to do in order to succeed. The task is laid before them. Do or die, they are told,” said Noel.

“The third factor is that there is no corruption. See what is happening in Hyderabad. Parents of the players are paying in lakhs to ensure that their children are selected in the state teams. Such things do not happen in Australia. Only the best are selected on merit. So more than anything else, corruption pulls us down,” said Noel.

“Another factor is that discipline is enforced strictly in Australia. If you are not a disciplined player, you will not make any progress. I have myself enforced this discipline. Once I was umpiring a match and a bowler was constantly swearing at me. I told him that I would take very severe action against him. ‘If I give you a red card, you will be banned from cricket for ten years. Behave yourself or your career will be ruined.’ That did the trick and the player changed his attitude immediately. So there is no tolerance of misconduct,” explained Noel.

“In India we tolerate indiscipline if the player has influence. But if we can enforce discipline in every situation, eradicate corruption and nepotism we too will improve our sports performances. As long as corruption exists, we cannot improve. The genetics we cannot change because that is given to us by nature. But we can change our mental attitudes and adopt an honest and positive approach. That will modernise our sports culture and provide sports a big boost in India,” concluded Noel.

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