Before Ravi Shastri was chosen as head coach of Team India in 2017, there were talks that the then Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) member Sourav Ganguly had reservations about him getting the job. However (CAC) which also included Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, eventually folded to the demands of Team India captain Virat Kohli and offered the throne to Shastri.
Last week, Shastri was reappointed as India coach till 2021 by the new CAC including Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy.
For Ganguly, a lot of water has flown under the bridge. The former India captain hopes the duo of Shastri and Kohli would now be able to create the “winning combination” after coming close on multiple occasions in last four years.
“He's (Shastri) got an extension for two more years. So, I wish him luck and hopefully India will go all the way in the two major tournaments that is coming in next two years,” said Ganguly at an event organised by fantasy cricket platform My11Circle.
“They (India) are doing well, they get to the semi-finals, but in 2015 they struggled against Australia in the semi-finals. In 2016, West Indies got better of them in Mumbai. Even in 2019. So hopefully they can take the next step and create the winning combination.”
While Shastri retained his position, batting coach Sanjay Bangar will soon be shown the gate. Many believe Bangar has been made some sort of a scapegoat for India’s failure at the World Cup and during overseas tour of South Africa and England. Bangar will be replaced by former Indian cricketer Vikram Rathour.
The “fantastic” Rathour made his Test debut in the same series as Ganguly and the 47-year-old is hopeful of his former colleague doing well.
“We have played together. Our Test debut was in the same series. He's fantastic guy, who has worked hard at the grass root level with Himachal Pradesh. He's has risen from absolute the basics. Ranji Trophy and putting the hard yard with Himachal boys. So hopefully he does well,” said Ganguly.
Talking about coaches, Ganguly was also asked whether he would want to coach India one day. The former left-handed cricket replied, he “may not get the job”.
“Yes (on whether he sees himself as India coach one day), someday, if they give me the job. But I may not get the job, as you see, somebody as big as Jonty Rhodes (for fielding coach position) didn't get the job. So, maybe someday, but not at this stage. Because currently I'm involved with a lot of things and it (coaching) requires a lot of time away from home and being on the road with the boys.
“Also, I'm learning my coaching skills. I was with Delhi Capitals last IPL season which is the first coaching assignment that I have taken up since the time I stopped playing. I would want to do something, if I get the opportunity,” Ganguly said.
Conflict of interest has been the buzzword in Indian cricket recently with Ganguly also playing his part after he received a notice from BCCI ombudsman and ethics officer DK Jain to clear his stands on the matter as he was associated with IPL side DC while serving as CAB president. Tendulkar, Laxman, Rahul Dravid all have faced the music recently and Ganguly asked for the rule to become “practical”.
“I wouldn’t say an exception be made to the rule, but the rule has to be practical. What is conflict of interest? Today, Rahul Dravid is appointed NCA head and there are issues about his conflict of interest of his job with India Cements. So you have got to be practical on that,” said Ganguly.
"You never know whether you would become NCA head or not. Three years later you may not remain NCA head. But these jobs are permanent and jobs remain with you. So it’s got to be practically solved.”
Ganguly was speaking at fantasy cricket platform My11Circle's event where he was present to felicitate the winners of the 'Beat The Expert' league played during 2019 World Cup.