After humming and hawing, Indian cricket has hit upon a potentially winning combination of coaches. With the captain- and player-friendly Ravi Shastri as mentor coach, the earnest and legendary Rahul Dravid as batting consultant, and Zaheer Khan who knows more than most about crafty seam bowling, every box has been ticked. The process of arriving at the decision, however, yet again reflects the chaos that governs the system. Appointing Zaheer and Dravid is a masterstroke that can keep egos in check within the team, and inspire everyone towards the common goal of winning the 2019 world cup.
The presence of the well-liked, and well-respected, Dravid can counter fears about the team turning too brash under Shastri. As a coach at India A and U-19, he has earned a formidable reputation. The players cannot but pick up good traits from him. Ditto with Zaheer, who reinvented himself midway through his career as one of the best bowlers of his generation. His skills as mentor have been raved about in the IPL by the likes of Australian Pat Cummins, and his presence would be valuable to the young seamers who look up to him.
But the process of their selection leaves a whiff of unpleasantness behind as it doesn’t really show anyone in good light — be it the bumbling BCCI, the cricket advisory committee members, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, or the Indian captain Virat Kohli, who would have to live with the accusations of being dogmatic and stubborn, or a bully. The good thing is that India embark on a cricket tour of Sri Lanka shortly, and the unsavoury denouement of the Anil Kumble saga can be put behind as Indian cricket moves on.