With Ravi Shastri’s tenure as team director with the Indian national side coming to an end, it was reported that the BCCI was considering offering the post to former team captain Rahul Dravid. However, it now appears that several senior players have thrown their weight behind Shastri, urging the advisory committee to consider extending his tenure.
A report by the Indian Express has said Shastri’s “positivity” and “aggression” have earned him several fans in the Indian dressing room. “We consulted the players recently on who they want to be the head of the team and many senior players were all praise for the work done by Shastri, and have said that they would be really happy if he continues in his role. A decision would be made soon,” a top source in BCCI told the newspaper. The source added that this could mean there won’t be a team director and a full-time coach, it will be just a single post and would essentially be a renewal of Shastri's contract.
The news comes just a day after BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur had said the administrators need to deliberate some more before taking any decision.
"I think media publishes many reports which are not even discussed at any level. Rahul Dravid has done extremely well as a player and he has been outstanding with India A and U-19 players. Before taking any call, we have to discuss within BCCI who we want to hire for the next two-three years, till the 2019 World Cup, and who could be best for Indian cricket. But I would like to assure you that we will pick the right person, at the right time,” he had said on Wednesday.
Shastri who was added to the India support staff during the last days of Duncan Fletcher's time as the head coach. He had taken over as team India director in 2014, following the tour of England, which had resulted in a 3-1 defeat for India. Since then, there has been a marked improvement in the team’s performance, with a World Cup semi-final place being followed by an Asia Cup victory earlier this year and a semi-final finish at the 2016 World T20. There was also an impressive tour of Australia, where India won the three-match T20 series 3-0. They also won their first Test series in Sri Lanka in 22 years, winning the three-match series 2-1, while at home, they thrashed then N0. 1 side South Africa 3-0.
Following the successful tour of Sri Lanka, the BCCI had given Shastri an extension, saying they were pleased with his performance. “Basically, the coaching job is done by Ravi Shastri and he has been asked to continue till the World T20. Shastri has been entrusted with the job and the players are also happy with him. I think he is doing a very good job and he can continue,” senior BCCI functionary Rajeev Shukla had said in September last year.
Furthermore, Dravid himself has been non-committal about the entire issue, saying his decision will depend “on whether he has the time and bandwidth” for the job. “Any decision that I make at this stage of my life would depend on whether I have the bandwidth to do all of these things. It takes time. You can never really say that now you are ready and now you are not. That’s an experience, a learning. You have to do it to know it. Every day you do it and you want to learn,” he had said.
With Shastri, who is currently back on commentary duty for IPL 2016, receiving the backing of senior players like Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin and Murali Vijay at various instances over the past few months, it won't be surprising to see him reinstated as Team Director.
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