Ravi Shastri may have been retained as the Team Director for the upcoming Bangladesh series only but his appointment came after Board officials had some informal discussions with few top cricketers, who gave their ‘Vote of Confidence’ in favour of the former all-rounder.
While Sourav Ganguly, in some quarters, is still believed to be a strong contender for the ‘High Performance Manager’ or the Team Director’s role, reliable sources in the BCCI said that most of the senior cricketers spoke highly about Shastri’s “man management” abilities.
“You can be rest assured that BCCI top brass informally sounded out the likes of Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni about their view on the support staff. It has been found that Shastri is immensely popular within this current set-up and the players in general want him to continue. The current BCCI set-up wants inclusive approach and want the players to express themselves,” a BCCI official told PTI on Tuesday.
Virat Kohli’s statement to Cricinfo website also makes clear as to what the team and specifically the captain wants.
“We would love to have him on board even if he is doing the same job right now. Just to have him around the group is a massive boost for us. To have him around the group in some way would be lovely. To have the head coach or who to have and what to do about is all part of the discussion when we sit down,” Kohli said.
Shastri, a veteran of 80 Tests and 150 ODIs, stood behind the beleaguered team after their crushing 1-3 series defeat in England as they turned the corner with a victory in the limited overs competition.
“If you look at Shastri’s performance, how do you find a fault with it? A young team fought well in Australia, won the ODI series in England and reached the semi-finals in the World Cup. They had one bad day against Australia which unfortunately was the semi-final. As an astute cricket brain, he stands up alongside anyone in India,” the source added.
A member of the Indian team’s erstwhile support staff had said during the World Cup that Shastri’s one-on-one sessions with Shikhar Dhawan changed it all for the left-hander during the World Cup.
Even Kohli has said about how a technical change suggested by Shastri helped score those bagful of runs in Australia that had a whopping four Test tons.
“He is the one who suggested I stand in front of the crease and on off stump. I was not convinced to begin with. I was thinking in my head that it might expose my stumps. He said just trust me, do it. I did not do it in England. But I went to Australia and I thought about it,” Kohli said.
Even though Shastri has agreed to accompany the team to Bangladesh in the same capacity, it is there to be seen as to how Jagmohan Dalmiya and Anurag Thakur deal with him if he asks for a longer rope in order to build a solid unit and the kind of working relationship he shares with the Cricket Advisory Panel.