Sourav Ganguly, former India skipper and a member of BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), has insisted that Ravi Shastri was the best option for Team India’s head coach.
Shastri, who was pipped by Anil Kumble for the head coach’s post last year, beat the likes of Virender Sehwag, Tom Moody, Richard Pybus and Lalchand Rajput to bag the coveted job this time around.
The former India all-rounder’s appointment, nevertheless, will be a welcome change in the Indian dressing room which has faced severe criticism since Anil Kumble’s acrimonious exit last month. Shastri was a popular figure in the dressing during his tenure as the director between 2014 and 2016 and shares a good equation with skipper Virat Kohli who has been in the centre of the storm.
During Shastri’s tenure, India made it to the semifinals of World Cup as well as World T20 in addition to winning Test series against Sri Lanka and South Africa and Shastri would hope that he continues to work on the foundation laid during Kumble’s regime.
Ganguly, while admitting that Shastri was the best option for the role, said that the decision was taken after consulting captain Virat.
“We picked the best person we thought. In consultation with Virat, we picked the best person,” Ganguly told The Indian Express on Wednesday (July 12).
The decision of appointing the coach was set to be taken on July 10 when the panel interviewed the candidates but the decision was deferred to an unconfirmed date with the three-member panel expressing their wish of taking Kohli’s inputs before taking a final call.
“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 had said.
But the decision was taken just a day later after the BCCI was instructed by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) not to delay the process.
While Shastri was the firm favourite to get the job there were expectations that Ganguly would not prefer him after the latter’s public outburst last year. Shastri had blamed Ganguly for not getting the coach’s post and it had led to a verbal spat between the duo. Moreover, there were reports suggesting that the all the members of CAC were not in favour of appointing Shastri.
However, Ganguly insisted that the decision to appoint Shastri was unanimous with Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman along with him giving their votes in favour of the former team director.
“No, no. It was unanimous,” Ganguly said when asked the reported difference of opinion among the Committee members.
Ganguly also revealed that the decision to appoint Zaheer Khan and Rahul Dravid as bowling and batting consultants respectively was taken after consulting the newly-appointed head coach.
“He (Shastri) was consulted by Sachin. That’s why we had asked for time,” Ganguly said.