A top-heavy coaching unit can backfire on a young Indian cricket team | editorials | Hindustan Times
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A top-heavy coaching unit can backfire on a young Indian cricket team

A compromise deal appears to have been struck with the selection of Ravi Shastri as the Indian cricket team’s head coach. But it is unimaginable to think that Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan will not express their views during team meetings.

editorials Updated: Jul 12, 2017 16:03 IST
A file photo of new Indian team head coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli .  No top team in world cricket can boast of such a star-studded line-up of coaches -- including Shastri, Zaheer Khan and Rahul Dravid -- with a cumulative Test experience of 336 Test matches and 694 ODIs.
A file photo of new Indian team head coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli . No top team in world cricket can boast of such a star-studded line-up of coaches -- including Shastri, Zaheer Khan and Rahul Dravid -- with a cumulative Test experience of 336 Test matches and 694 ODIs. (AFP)

The drama over selecting the head coach for the Indian cricket team is typical of a confused BCCI. Selecting a heavy-duty coaching staff that includes two former captains and a bowling legend hints at a compromise formula arrived after a win-some-lose-some discussion with captain Virat Kohli.

The backroom staff comprising Ravi Shastri (head coach), Rahul Dravid (overseas batting coach) and Zaheer Khan (bowling coach) is rather unique. Interestingly, last year Dravid had turned down the offer to be chief coach because of the travelling involved.

No top team in world cricket can boast of such a star-studded line-up of coaches, whose combined Test experience is 336 Test matches and 694 ODIs.

After a good stint as team director, Shastri was favourite to become chief coach when the BCCI was looking for a successor to Duncan Fletcher. But Sourav Ganguly scuppered Ravi Shastri’s chances and the Cricket Advisory Committee, in their collective wisdom, appointed Anil Kumble in dramatic fashion for a year in June 2016.

BCCI’s advertisement for a new coach on June 1 was prompted by Virat Kohli’s objection to Kumble’s ‘style’ of functioning. Given Anil Kumble’s great success with the team, an automatic extension was more than due. But a trust deficit between coach and captain only made matters worse.

After all efforts to improve coach-captain relationship failed during the ICC Champions Trophy in the UK, Kumble’s exit left Sourav Ganguly & Co on a sticky wicket. There was no stopping Kohli’s man Ravi Shastri now.

By forcing Kumble out, Kohli took on the CAC, the BCCI and the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators. The CoA was in favour of an extension for Kumble and the CAC was more than willing. Shastri only applied for the coach’s job when the BCCI invited applications for the second time.

This time, Sourav Ganguly and team rose above petty matters and chose Shastri as head coach but went a step ahead by naming a bowling and batting coach of their liking, effectively erasing the good work done by Sanjay Bangar. The chief coach usually selects his support staff.

It is unimaginable to think that Dravid and Zaheer will not express their views during team meetings. The presence of two heavyweights will always make decision-making a tricky job. Shastri’s man management skills will be tested to the hilt. A top-heavy coaching unit can backfire on a young Indian team