Anil Kumble has beaten Ravi Shastri to become Indian coach. Both were outstanding cricketers and performed with much pride and honour for the country. But, Kumble was a match-winner on Indian pitches and performed creditably abroad, Shastri’s centuries against the four top-class fast bowlers of West Indies was no less inspiring. At his peak, he was one of the best all-rounders in ODI cricket. Having good managerial skill, Ravi Shastri did not get the responsibility of Indian coach. There are few reasons behind it.
The special committee of BCCI comprising former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman have selected Anil Kumble’s name and forwarded to BCCI President Anurag Thakur. Kumble played most of time in his career with Sourav, Sachin and laxman. But, Ravi Shastri ended his career before they started. So, his cricketing sense might be unknown to them. Being coach of Indian team, disparate abilities, mindsets, temperaments and backgrounds are needed. Here, Kumble is slight ahead of Shastri.
Both are influential figures in Indian cricket. But Kumble oozes composure and has the requisite characteristics India need right now to solidify themselves as a powerhouse across the formats. Shastri would have been a gamble and there was just too much risk involved in hiring him. Kumble is the safe and smart selection.
An interesting aspect in this is Ravi Shastri’s presence as the Media Representative. These appointments alone explain the subtle difference between these two experienced candidates vying to become India’s next coach. While Kumble has held various, diverse roles over the years, from being the President of the KSCA, overseeing the National Cricket Academy as its Chairman and mentoring the RCB. Shastri, before being India’s Team Director, has largely travelled around the world in his role in broadcasting media. In addition, Kohli’s aggressive, win-at-all-costs approach will find the perfect complement in Kumble’s calm, level-headedness and tactical prudence.
Indian cricket has its own equations. The board president is all powerful and can take decisions that he deems fit. The irony is that this president is trying so hard to avoid just that for the sake of transparency and responsibility. But as it was said in a different culture at a different time: More the change, more it stays the same.
Though, BCCI have recognised the contribution of Team Director Ravi Shastri under whom India marched to the semi-finals in the ICC World Cup held in Australia and the ICC World T20 India 2016.
“With him as Team Director, India won the Test series in Sri Lanka after a gap of 22 years and also outplayed South Africa 3-0 in a four-Test home series before clinching the Asia Cup,” the BCCI said.