Ravi Shastri was appointed the head coach of the Indian cricket team on Tuesday after much confusion. A day prior, member of the Cricket Advisory Committee Sourav Ganguly said the decision on the coach would be announced in a few days as the panel was yet to consult with captain Virat Kohli who was in the United States unwinding after a rigorous ICC Champions Trophy and Tour of West Indies. But on Tuesday, Committee of Advisors (CoA) pushed the BCCI to announce the new coach at the earliest. That is when wheels were put in motion and Shastri was officially announced as coach late in the night. He won’t be alone in assisting the team with Zaheer Khan appointed the bowling consultant and Rahul Dravid the batting consultant for away Test tours.
Shastri had not entered his name in the fray the first time BCCI had invited applications but only did so later when the deadlines were extended. He says the only reason he sent in his CV then was because he understood the gravity of the situation late and wished to help the team that he had been working with till the World T20. “I had not really wrapped my head around the gravity of the situation. There was nothing personal. I really hadn’t begun to understand the seriousness of this. But when I sat down and gave it a serious thought, I began to tell myself: here is a unit that I have been part of and enjoyed a great working relationship. I have been part of the unit that helped it become number one. I thought the onus is on me now to make it work again, in the best interests of everybody involved,” he told Times of India.
A lot was said and remained unsaid during Anil Kumble’s resignation as India coach. There were questions raised over the power that a captain has in the setup and Shastri maintained that the coach has to remain in the background. “Absolutely. It’s always the captain’s team and it is the leader who calls the shots. That’s how it has always worked. A coach’s role is to stay in the background and let the onus be on the players,” said Shastri who was earlier with India as Team Director.
Reportedly, the difference between Kumble and Kohli remained on the coach’s disciplinarian approach which didn’t go down well with the skipper and the team. However, Shastri said his approach to things is different as long as there is effort being put and it is producing good results. “Make no mistake about that (authoritarian approach). There’s plenty of it and I can make it known when required. But there’s no point in showing authority when it’s not required and there’s a sense of bonding hat works better. Why should I change anyone’s style, or for that matter, why should anyone change his own style of doing things? As long as there’s a level of commitment, the hard yards are being put in and results are showing, why shouldn’t there be fun?,” he said.
Despite the appointment of Zaheer and Dravid as consultants, Shastri said he needs to make the call on the full-time options that would be available to him. “I will to have to sit with the authorities to figure out a few things going forward from here, especially concerning the support staff. There are a lot of tours coming up and if I’m responsible for working with this set-up 200 days a year, then it’s me who should be working on my reserves, no?”
“Let’s see. I’ll first speak with Virat and Sanjay (Bangar) [batting coach] about this and then we can take a call. All I’ll say right now is I am entitled to take a call on the support staff, given that I’ll be working closely with them over the next two years. The BCCI can certainly bring in guys like Zaheer and Dravid as consultants from time to time. Their experience is invaluable. But as far as a full-time support is concerned, I will need to decide on it because it is me who will be working with them for next two years,” he added.