Former India skipper Ravi Shastri has been offered the post of India’s ‘cricket manager’ for the forthcoming tour of Bangladesh, from May 10 to 29. Rahul Dravid may be asked to continue to lead the team for the time being, say sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Shastri confirmed that he had been offered the post. “I have been asked to be manager for the Bangladesh tour,” he told the Hindustan Times from Mumbai on Friday, adding that he would let the BCCI know by Saturday if he could accept.
“I have contractual obligations, and will have to find out if I can get out of them temporarily,” he said, pointing out that the offer was “only short-term”.
Asked if there was any chance of it turning into a long-term job, Shastri said he had not thought about anything beyond the immediate assignment.
‘Cricket manager’ is the new nomenclature that has replaced ‘coach’, which has apparently been found “inappropriate”. “No one can coach a player at the top level,” said a BCCI official. “All this person needs to do is plan strategies and create a healthy, disciplined atmosphere in the team.”
Shastri’s first job will be to unite a team that is reportedly riven with differences — a task many in the BCCI feel outgoing coach Greg Chappell should have performed.
Sources said Shastri, if he accepted the offer, planned to sit with the top three Indian cricketers — Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid — and sort out any problems, perceived or real, between them. “A manager’s job is to motivate and unite the team, and sort out any problems that may be created, not create divisions in the team,” said a source close to Shastri.
Regarding Dravid, sources in the BCCI said he had indicated that if offered captaincy again, he would want it to come with certain “positions in management”. One of these, apparently, is that the captain should be allowed to have a say in team selection. As things stand, an Indian captain can only give an opinion or make recommendations — he has no vote.
The BCCI is likely to call the selectors to Mumbai next week to name the captain. The squad to Bangladesh will be announced in the third week.