Another twist in Indian cricket team’s coach interview drama! According to latest developments, Ravi Shastri was initially recommended by the Cricket Advisory Committee to be appointed as the Indian cricket team’s batting coach, with Anil Kumble the head coach, but it was BCCI who asked the CAC not to overstep what they have been briefed.
The special committee, involving Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, V V S Laxman and Sanjay Jagdale (coordinator), was given the responsibility to pick only the new coach of the Indian team. And it’s not Ravi Shastri whom Kumble leapfrogged, he was eventually picked over Tom Moody, with Test captain Virat Kohli’s full support.
Shastri, the former India team director till the end of the World T20 held earlier this year, applied for the position of the head coach with enough confidence considering his success with the team. He even submitted his presentation in advance and attended the interview via video link from Bangkok when the coach selection process was being conducted at a Kolkata hotel on June 21.
Now it has been learnt that at the very last lap Kumble and Moody nosed ahead of him, but the committee still wanted Ravi Shastri to be part of the set-up as batting coach.
“It was a long meeting, which lasted seven-eight hours. Ideas were bounced off. Yes, the panel recommended Shastri’s name as batting coach, at which point I intervened. The committee’s mandate was restricted to appointing the head coach of the Indian team and I just reminded them that,” BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke told The Indian Express.
“We have taken a decision that like all professional sporting set-ups, the head coach will bring his own team of support staff. The BCCI is striving for transparency, professionalism and excellence,” he said.
One of the committee members, Sourav Ganguly, was not present at the Taj Bengal when Shastri was being interviewed. The former India captain had to leave for the Cricket Association of Bengal instead, to attend the state association’s working committee meeting between 5 pm and 6.30 pm on June 21. However, reports say Ganguly took prior permission to leave the board room and was apprised of the panel’s interaction with Shastri when he returned.
When Ravi Shastri became off the radar during the interview process, it came to a two-horse race between Kumble and Moody. Eventually, the leg-spinner came out as a unanimous choice after Virat Kohli gave his vote of confidence.
“Kumble’s name was finalised following feedback from Kohli. Both Kumble and Moody gave very impressive presentations. In fact, the Australian became a serious choice, given his coaching pedigree. But Kohli wanted Kumble with an eye to improving the performance of the spinners overseas. Spinners don’t win us Tests outside the subcontinent and Kohli felt Kumble could play an important role in this regard,” revealed a BCCI insider.
Interestingly, Kohli earlier batted for Shastri to continue in the role. “As long as he (Shastri) wants to continue in that job, it’s going to be beneficial to the team. He has given confidence to everyone in the team; we are a young side, you need someone who has been there and done that. He is someone who has played cricket on his own terms. Played it with a lot of composure, character and belief. When a guy who has done all that talks to you, a young player gets confident. You can believe what he says,” he then said.
But the Cricket Advisory Committee later approached Kohli to make a choice between Kumble and Moody, and he rightly picked the Indian legend.