After a Bollywood style melodrama, the Indian cricket team finally has a coach.
The Anil Kumble saga had already left a bad taste in the mouth. Then the powers that be hemmed and hawed about the new coach when the whole world knew that Ravi Shastri would be next in line.
The three former Indian cricketers entrusted with the task – Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and V V S Laxman – wanted an input from captain Virat Kohli before naming the coach. Hence the three-man committee took their time to name Shastri with Ganguly saying there was no hurry.
This is absolutely ridiculous. This never happens in any sport. How can a coach function when the captain has a say in his appointment? This undermines his role in a big way. How can he lay down the law when the captain and players have approved him in the first place?
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has let things drift in such a manner that there is chaos in everything they do. There has been mismanagement and corruption galore with political involvement and interference.
The process of appointing the coach has been an absolute mess with the procedure defying logic. And if the players are to decide, then why have a coach at all? They can take turns to coach the team. Have a player/coach instead if they think they are smart.
Everyone knew that the team wanted Shastri. In his earlier stint as cricket director, Shastri had gelled well with the team and particularly with Kohli. There is no question about Shastri’s credentials for the coaching job, despite never having done so.
He has been a former captain who has excelled as an all-rounder in all formats. His cricket acumen is strong and his attitude easy going. He is also a great motivator who can shake the lethargy of some of the superstars.
The best thing about Shastri is that he has an aggressive mindset which would match Kohli. The one thing Shastri must watch out for is that he must not fall into the trap of being “one of the boys”. That will spoil things in a big way. The strict Kumble approach may be needed sometimes to make players toe the line.
Still there is hope that Shastri will carry on the good work done by Kumble. Indian cricket is at the top at the moment and Shastri will have to keep it there. There is plenty of talent available at his disposal and this will make his task easier.
Luckily for Shastri, he will have Rahul Dravid as batting coach on tours and Zaheer Khan as a bowling coach by his side.
Dravid is a cricket great while Zaheer has been one of India’s best bowlers with a sharp cricketing brain.
But as expected, there is more drama in store over the selection of these two greats with some more objections raised. The whole saga would make a good film.
The future augers well for Indian cricket with this combination, if it finally gets the nod. But the cricket authorities must be clear on the role of the coach and captain. We don’t want another Kumble episode again. Both coach and captain must draw the line to avoid bad blood and work in harmony.
There has been enough drama already with the appointment of the coach. Indian cricket must move on.
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