Millennium Post

Firmly in control

Former Indian captain and all-rounder Ravi Shastri, who was named as the team director in 2014, is likely to replace coach Duncan Fletcher, whose tenure has already come to an end after the World Cup. The Board of Control for Cricket in India is likely to  seal Shastri’s name after the ongoing series against Bangladesh. The former player, who might take over Fletcher, an ex-Zimbabwean cricketer, will be the first Indian to hold this prestigious position after 2000 when John Wright of New Zealand ushered in the era of foreign coaches.

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur has released a list of contenders for the post proposed by the captain along with the board members. As per several news reports, the board has stopped looking for a new coach after Test skipper Virat Kohli told them that he wanted Shastri in the dressing room. The list includes the famous trio Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Saurav Ganguly, who are also recognised as the pillars for modern cricket and are truly amongst the favourites due to their immense contribution to the game.

Being Preferred over trio
BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya is believed to be a supporter of Ganguly as he thinks the former captain is capable of winning the matches overseas. Taking it as the attribute necessary for a coach to guide the team towards the winning reign, Ganguly currently stands favourite after Shastri. After being appointed as the director, Shastri brought some necessary changes to the team which helped them have a commendable series against World champions Australia, keeping in mind that the team was led by Virat Kohli and had youngsters with minimal overseas’ experience against the team which holds the best pace attack in their current squad. His effort was greatly demonstrated by the men-in-blue when they reached the semi-finals before they lost to the host.

He got popular among all the team members as he solely was responsible for stretching his communication arm within the team members, which in turn, helped him to know the team better. This effort was hugely appreciated by the players as they adored his company outside the commentary box as well.

Shastri has players’ backing
Key players like Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan, in an interview, extend their gratitude to the former captain as he believed in them during their tough time and helped them overcome their fears and enhanced their potential. If people didn’t know, Shikhar’s nicking the ball outside the off stump and the over exposure of Kohli’s leg stump was spotted by  Ravi Shastri only. He reached out to the two to escalate their game to a level where both were able to play tough in the last World Cup as well as on their current tour of Bangladesh.

Shastri also patched the weakness in the middle order in the name of Suresh Raina, who was under total scrutiny at that time by the board members because of his inability to duck or play a pull shot accordingly. Raina was spotted during the training session with his director giving some useful tips over the hook shot which nowadays he is managing to survive right through the end. With a level of experience he shares with the youngsters off and on the field, it has boosted confidence of the <g data-gr-id="111">new comers</g> so they can play within their comfort zone even against the team who holds a reputation of dominating other players with their game. Umesh Yadav, who was introduced to the team as a muscle bowler as he can produce 150 <g data-gr-id="112">kmh</g> in short regular intervals, was struggling with his pace and length against various teams as he posed not enough confidence on field for the team. It was marked by Shastri during his commentary period and decided to work on the issue immediately after getting appointed as the Director. He kept on sending Yadav on the field despite his performance under par and instead of keeping him on the bench. The amount of confidence shown in Yadav by the team was displayed by his effort in improving his game at both the domestic and international level and was also clear by his confident walk on the field along with his follow through during his spell that he is playing within the <g data-gr-id="113">vicinty</g> of comfort which was in actual a pay off for the trust and time Shastri has devoted in him.

When the news was fetched out that the former all-rounder of India is the possible substitute for Duncan Fletcher, many in support of him spoke about his possible future in the team as the coach. Even the Indian Test Captain Virat Kohli spoke to the media and expressed, “We would love to have him on board even if he is doing the same job right now. Just to have him around the group is a massive boost for us. To have him around the group in some way would be lovely. To have the head coach or who to have and what to do about is all part of the discussion when we sit down.”

Dalmiya thinks the other way
According to the BCCI administrator Jagmohan Dalmia, the possible future of Ravi Shastri in the squad is highly doubtful. He does not think that Shastri will sustain in the squad for a long time as he was unable to produce results, which was contradicted by the Indian legend and ex-captain Sunil Gavaskar by saying that, “I hail the decision by the board <g data-gr-id="136">members</g> but it will be unfair for his counter player if results are expected immediately”. Shastri has made friends and many followers across the globe with his game and impeccable commentary including the English legend Geoffrey 
Boycott, who shares his thought with Gavaskar on Shastri’s new appointment as the coach but feels that the Indian cricket team is not in need of a coach but a manager, who is able to manage to star-studded squad, “I am glad Ravi is there and they do not have a coach. Because personally I like Ravi  Shastri  a lot as he has <g data-gr-id="89">lot</g> to offer. The use of a coach is over emphasised, <g data-gr-id="86">manager</g> is a better word. At the top, people shouldn’t be coaching”.

World’s highest paid cricket job
BCCI sources reveal that they are willing to make the former skipper the highest paid cricket coach in the world which is likely to be announced at the end of the Bangladesh tour. The man credited with turning around the team’s fortunes ahead of the World Cup earlier this year and who is currently running ahead in the race of coach allotment has worked under a year tenure of four crores with the BCCI as a TV commentator. He will be the highest paid coach in the world to be getting paid around seven crores for the deal. He is supposedly getting paid way more than compared to his predecessor 

Talking in an interview when asked about his future designation as the coach of Indian Cricket team, he mentioned his plan of action for conducting the team in an organised manner and to do so he asked with all due respect from the board not to interrupt him on his campaign especially pointing out on the trio’s as to keep their advice to themselves. The audacity it takes for such bold statement itself talks about his focus for the future campaign with the squad and fills the team followers with great hope for the comeback of Indian team and to claim back their right to be world champions.

"The possible future of Ravi Shastri in the squad is highly doubtful. I do not see him as a long-term member of the team," Jagmohan Dalmia.

"We would love to have him on board even if he is doing the same job right now. Just to have him around the group is a massive boost for us," Virat Kohli.

"If Ravi [Shastri] is doing the same job as a coach, what’s the problem? But I don’t know what Ravi’s doing at the moment," Glenn McGrath.

"I hail the decision by the board <g data-gr-id="243">members</g> but it will be unfair for his counter player if results are expected immediately," Sunil Gavaskar.

"You need a former cricketer, who is not a coach but manages the team. With such a high-profile team, it’s important to manage them," Kapil Dev.

"I like Ravi Shastri a lot. ‘Coach’ is over emphasised, manager is a better word. At the top, people shouldn’t be coaching,' Geoffrey Boycott.
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