Once Ravi Shastri entered the fray to become Team India's head coach, it became pretty much clear as to who's going to be the front-runner for the job. Shastri who's a former international player, has the experience of managing the Indian cricket team before, and, most importantly, he had the backing of the influential captain Virat Kohli.
Shastri's had his first brush with coaching the national team in 2007, and it is somewhat similar to the present circumstances. The controversial coach Greg Chappell had resigned after the Rahul Dravid-led team got knocked out of the World Cup in group stages. The team was low on morale and were facing severe backlash from the country's cricket-crazy public. The BCCI, then, took the help of Ravi Shastri to achieve stability by appointing him as manager for the India's tour to Bangladesh. It was a successful series for Shastri, who managed a young Indian squad that saw victories in both the ODIs and Tests.
Just like in 2007, Shastri will now take over the team after the reproted 'Kumble-Kohli' spat. It's fascinating how things turned out for Shastri. After his stint as team director ended in 2016, he applied for the head coach spot. The Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising of legends Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman had overlooked Shastri to pick their former team-mate Anil Kumble. Shastri minced no words in expressing his disappointment. And his anguish made sense because Shastri had a good record to back it.
Under Duncan Fletcher, India suffered a string of Test defeats. They lost all the eight away Test matches against England and Australia. They were also beaten by England at home. The term 'crisis' was being tagged on to the team. And once again, the BCCI went to their most trusted lieutenant to seek help. In 2014, after India sustained an embarrassing 1-3 trouncing at the hands of England, Ravi Shastri came in as team director. The partnership of Fletcher and Shastri worked for India as the team qualified to the 2015 World Cup semis, where they lost to eventually champions Australia.
After the World Cup campaign ended, Fletcher had put down his papers but Shastri was given an extended run. It was during this period that Shastri really stamped his authority on the team. Pairing up with Virat Kohli, the duo oversaw a historic Test series victory in Sri Lanka after a span of 22 years. Then they went on humiliate South Africa at home by thumping them 3-0 in Tests. In the shortest format of the game, India whitewashed Australia 3-0 at their own backyard while winning the Asia Cup and reached the last four stage of the World T20 event. Even when India lost the Test series against Australia, the team was praised for their aggressive approach.
Shastri's term ended with the conclusion of World T20. When BCCI announced invitations for the head coach position, Shastri applied for the post. Despite having all the credentials to become the head coach, he was shown the door.
Now after his re-appointment, life has come full circle for Shastri. The same committee which had rejected him a year back, had no choice this time but to give him the job. Kohli's differences with Kumble did not affect the results of the team but India will face a stern test in the future. India's tour to Sri Lanka will start on 26 July while at the end of the year, India is travelling to South Africa. So the decision to select Shastri as the head coach has come at the right time.
Published Date: Jul 12, 2017 09:20 am | Updated Date: Jul 12, 2017 09:20 am