Here's what tilted the balance in Ravi Shastri's favour in coach selection
As expected, Shastri retains Team India head coach post, but his clear plan on how to get rid of the middle-order blues impresses Kapil Dev & Co
As expected, Ravi Shastri bagged a second successive two-year term with the Indian cricket team primarily because of his association with Virat Kohli & Co. Shastri will remain head coach till the 2021 T20 World Cup which will be hosted in India. However, in a "close race" with Mike Hesson and Tom Moody what really tilted the balance in the favour of the former India captain was Shastri's precise plans to improve Team India.
Shastri, who was the last of the five candidates to appear for the interview, gave a detailed presentation to the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy from the West Indies. Shastri made his presentation via Skype. Moody too presented his case via video conference while Hesson, Robin Singh and Lalchand Rajput appeared in person. Phil Simmons opted out from the race yesterday.
Not that Hesson and Moody did not have clear plans for Team India, but what impressed Kapil & Co the most was Shastri's middle-order plans.
"His two-year plan was more precise than anyone else. He had a clear idea of what is required to improve this team. Strengthening the middle-order was on top of his planning. Getting more all-rounders is his aim to bolster the middle-order," a CAC member revealed to mid-day yesterday.
At the press conference, Kapil said that Shastri, "will need more help from the selectors and from the Board to make this team more stronger."
A CAC member later explained Kapil's point: "Shastri said that it would be better if the captain and coach can have an informal meeting with the selectors before they [selectors] meet the captain formally to pick the team. This will help the flow of communication to be better and team's requirements be addressed in a better way," said a CAC member.
Familiarity, an advantage
CAC members Anshuman Gaekwad and Kapil Dev at the BCCI headquarters yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
CAC member Gaekwad explained why Shastri was chosen: "I think basically being the current coach, knowing the boys well, knowing the problems well in the team, what needs to be done, I think he is well-versed with the entire system, while the others were not. They probably (would have) had to start (afresh). So, somebody who knows the system and knows the players very well, can communicate well, has the advantage," said Gaekwad, who was India coach from 1997 to 1999.
Shastri may have an impressive record with Team India, but the Men in Blue have faltered to get past the semi-finals during the 2015 and the last 50-50 World Cup in England. Even before a question could be completed, Kapil jumped to Shastri's defence: "If any manager doesn't win, should they be sacked? No…you look at the overall picture. Our job was to look at their presentation," said the 1983 World Cup-winning captain.
Meanwhile, Rangaswamy said: "All of them provided the way forward and we weighed past performances and that swung it in Ravi Shastri's favour," she said.
To a question on whether Kohli was consulted before arriving at the decision, Kapil remarked: "If we had taken his views, then we would have to take the views of the entire team. We didn't ask anyone for their views because we didn't have that facility," said the CAC chief.
The CAC did not reveal the scores of each individual, but Kapil said it was a tight finish. "It was a very close race and I won't tell you how much the difference was — it was very close," he said.
CAC wants say in support staff selection
THE Kapil Dev-led Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) recommended to the BCCI that their views to be considered in the selection of support staff members as well.
"Our views should be considered. We have given a letter to the Board. There should not be a communication gap. We want to make sure the team benefit. We can help the chairman of selectors and his team as all of us want the Indian team to do well," said Kapil. BCCI CEO Rahul Johri told mid-day that the CAC's request will be forwarded to the Committee of Administrators. However, a BCCI official said that the CAC can always informally discuss things with the selection committee about the support staff. Many high profile names from India and abroad have applied for the posts of batting, bowling and fielding coaches.
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Ravi Shastri re-appointed as Team India head coach