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Ravi Shastri: Five big challenges for Indian cricket team coach

Ravi Shastri was finally appointed the coach of the Indian cricket team. However, there are a number of challenges he is likely to face in the hot-seat.

cricket Updated: Jul 12, 2017 20:16 IST
Sidharth Gulati
Sidharth Gulati
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ravi Shastri,BCCI,Board of Control for Cricket in India
Ravi Shastri is likely to face a few challenges as the coach of the Indian cricket team. (AFP)

After a 48-hour long drama, the BCCI confirmed Ravi Shastri as head coach with Zaheer Khan as the bowling coach while Rahul Dravid was chosen as the batting consultant for overseas Test tours. Their tenures will be till the 2019 ICC World Cup.

Shastri, who served as the team director from August 2014 to 2016 ICC World T20, will begin his stint from the Sri Lanka tour starting on July 26. Here are some of the challenges the former India all-rounder is likely to face:

Have everyone on the same page

Experienced coaching staff is the key in any sport. However, clash of opinions can disturb the dressing room atmosphere.

The presence of Zaheer and Dravid will make decision-making a tricky job. Shastri’s man management skills will be tested. Striking a balance between what the coach wants from players and what is actually needed will be the key.

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Shastri had said, “Their inputs will be invaluable. Any good suggestion will be welcome.”

Overseas record - The most important of the lot

India’s recent overseas wins have come against Sri Lanka and West Indies - both bottom-ranked teams. With tough tours coming up against England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, India will be determined to put in a consistent performance.

While they have never won a series in Australia, India last won in England 10 years ago while they secured victory in New Zealand in 2009. With these numbers, Shastri’s key task will be to ensure the team turns their poor overseas record around

Moving on from the Kohli-Kumble saga

Kumble “untenable” problems with Kohli led to a fractured dressing room. Reportedly, some Indian players who were a part of the Champions Trophy squad also had serious issues with Kumble.

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The Kohli-Kumble saga has left a nasty taste in the mouth of many Indian cricket fans and they will be hoping to see less ‘action’ off the field. Shastri’s biggest challenge will be to ensure that the team does not carry the excess baggage of the past

Clarity over Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni’s role

Apart from the Pakistan game in the Champions Trophy where he scored a fifty, Yuvraj Singh has struggled for runs while MS Dhoni drew flak for not taking India over the line against the West Indies in Antigua. His innings of 54 off 114 in pursuit of 190 raised questions whether Dhoni’s finishing skills were done and dusted.

Shastri will face a challenge when it comes to defining Yuvraj and Dhoni’s role in the current setup. Both players have a combined experience of 600 ODIs but preparations for the 2019 World Cup have to start now.

Keeping Kohli level headed

Defining roles is the best way to keep Kohli level-headed. Both Shastri and the Indian skipper are aggressive and passionate. Their partnership has the potential to take the team forward. While both are bold personalities, Shastri believes in the primacy of the captain’s position and would expect the same from Kohli when it comes to the head coach’s role.

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Kohli must continue to take responsibility for the team’s performances on the field. Shastri can be the spark off the field to help Kohli achieve his true potential.

First Published: Jul 12, 2017 20:10 IST