“We will explain to him (Virat Kohli) that the coaches want to function a certain way, and make sure that everybody is on the same page.” On a dark cloudy Mumbai day, after interviewing all the coach aspirants along with his fellow committee members Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly said the final decision would only be taken after consulting India captain Virat Kohli.
Only Virender Sehwag made a flesh-and-blood presence at the interview centre at the BCCI headquarters. The rest — Ravi Shastri, Tom Moody, Richard Pybus and Lalchand Rajput — made Skype appearances, while Phil Simmons wasn’t available for the interview, and in the end, Ganguly said the panel would take a few days before deciding who will be the man in the hot seat. In a week’s time, the Indian team would head to Sri Lanka for a 45-day tour, but Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) aren’t in a mood to make any decision in haste.
“We want to speak to Virat Kohli once he is back from America, all three of us along with the respective people concerned. We will explain to him that the coaches want to function in a certain way and make sure that everybody is on the same page before we make the announcement, because once we make the announcement it has to be till the (2019) World Cup,” Ganguly said.
The unpleasant ending of the tenure of Anil Kumble, the last candidate Ganguly chose along with fellow Cricket Advisory Committee members Tendulkar and Laxman, has triggered a bout of caution this time around. “We want to make sure that everybody is in synchronisation of the way forward and then Indian cricket moves forward. We shouldn’t be seen again six months down the line doing something different,” Ganguly said.
The CAC, Ganguly said, was happy with the coaches’ presentations but since Kohli is an “important cog of the system,” the final decision would be made later. “I though the presentations were outstanding, exactly what the coaches want to do in the system … I am especially surprised and happy when we heard about how they want to go about the job. We have played the game and we have been under different coaches and they have all their different ways of operations. The crux of the matter does not change and that is why we feel that Virat Kohli is an important cog of the system … We are not in a hurry. We are not only looking at the Sri Lanka tour because Sri Lanka is a long tour. What is important for us is that all of them are concerned, we are not going to play, it is the coach and the captain and we are just part of it.”
Near the end of the West Indies tour, BCCI CEO Rahul Johri travelled to the Caribbean to purportedly discuss the coach issue with Kohli, but there is no clarity on their chat. The general manager of cricket operations of the Indian board, MV Sridhar, too was present on the West Indies tour as the manager, but Ganguly said Kohli didn’t send any name of a candidate he prefers.
“You’ve got to give credit to Virat. He just completely stayed out of it. He has no inputs, he has not said any names. But we feel, as an advisory committee, he’s the captain which is the most important in cricket. He and everyone of us have to be on the same page, which is the most important.”
At the end of the interview day, Ganguly said the CAC would discuss with the captain the methods and ways of the candidates, and inform him how they want to go about their job.
“CAC will go out of the picture once Virat, the coach and the respective members of the Board sit, and then the Board takes over the matter. We will make them understand, we will go through what they have said, we have noted everything, their style of functioning and then we will decide.
“Virat needs to understand how the coaches also operate. That’s the best way forward. It has to be decided for one and all because everybody will be different and everybody wants the good of the team, whether it is Virat or Anil or the five people who were interviewed today, all of us sitting there, we want the best possible thing from our side for Indian cricket. The best possible thing we see is that everybody is on the same page, they synchronise the way forward and proceed and we go out of the system.”
During his commentary stint at the Champions Trophy in England, Ganguly had chatted with Kohli and on Monday, he said that it wasn’t about the new coach. Back then, the CAC was still trying to broker peace between Kumble and Kohli. “That was a different aspect and that chapter is shut, this is a new one which we are going to start.”