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Murky drama over Ravi Shastri as BCCI says no decision on Indian cricket team coach yet

BCCI said the Cricket Advisory Committee was still deliberating on the head coach after several news channels said Ravi Shastri was appointed till 2019 World Cup

cricket Updated: Jul 11, 2017 20:06 IST
Soumitra Bose
Soumitra Bose
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ravi Shastri,Anil Kumble,Virat Kohli
Ravi Shastri was named as the Indian cricket team head coach but the BCCI called it a false alarm and said the Cricket Advisory Committee was still deliberating on the issue.(REUTERS)

On Tuesday evening, after several news channels ‘broke’ the news that Ravi Shastri had been appointed Indian cricket team’s new head coach, the Board of Control for Cricket in India quickly confirmed that it was a false alarm.

Amitabh Choudhary, the BCCI’s acting secretary, said the Cricket Advisory Committee was still deliberating on the coach and “until they apprise us of the decision, I cannot comment on this matter.”

On Monday, the high-profile CAC, that has Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar as members, interviewed five candidates for the head coach’s job at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.

Ravi Shastri, Virender Sehwag, Lalchand Rajput, Tom Moody and Richard Pybus were shortlisted to present their vision for the Indian cricket team going forward. Only Sehwag and Rajput appeared in person.

Although the selection process was over, the CAC refused to divulge a name saying that it needed to consult the Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli, first.

“There is no hurry,” said Sourav Ganguly, a key member of the CAC, adding that “everyone should be on the same page.”

The need of a new coach arose because Kohli and Anil Kumble were not on the same page. Kumble, who was appointed for a year by the CAC in June 2016, didn’t have the best of times in the Indian dressing room. Although Kohli denied any ‘rift’ with Kumble, their relationship appeared very cold during the recent ICC Champions Trophy in UK.

After he learnt from the BCCI that Kohli had reservations with his ‘style’, Kumble said the ‘partnership with Kohli was untenable’ and withdrew from the race for the coach’s job. Earlier, Kumble was offered an extension by the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators but “only if he wanted”.

Shastri, who was Team India director from 2014-16, applied for the post when the BCCI opened applications for a second time. Given his good relationship with Kohli and senior players like Shikhar Dhawan, the former all-rounder and TV commentator was the odds-on favourite to become head coach again.

“Ravi was the one who started the turnaround in 2014, the work ethic changed under him. He is the right choice for the coach,” said Sunil Gavaskar to NDTV on Tuesday. “Ravi is 100% committed. His professionalism is worth seeing,” Gavaskar added.

But it remains to be seen whether the CAC, that had rejected Shastri for Kumble last year, agrees with Gavaskar’s views and gives Kohli the coach he always wanted.

India travel to Sri Lanka for three Tests, five ODIs and one T20 international. The first Test starts in Galle on June 26.

First Published: Jul 11, 2017 19:05 IST