Ravi Shastri - Indian cricket team’s ultimate comeback man
Ravi Shastri has been appointed as the head coach of the Indian cricket team while Zaheer Khan has been appointed as the bowling coach.
After much drama and suspense, Ravi Shastri was appointed the new head coach of the Indian cricket team on Tuesday. The position was vacant after Anil Kumble withdrew from the reapplication process after his contract expired at the end of the Champions Trophy where India lost to Pakistan in the final.
Shastri’s appointment ends a roller-coaster journey in which the Indian dressing room endured a turbulent time with reports of friction between skipper Virat Kohli and Kumble. The decision to name the coach was scheduled to take place on Monday but Sourav Ganguly, former India skipper and member of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), deferred the decision stating they needed more time and wanted to consult Kohli before coming to a decision.
But, Vinod Rai, head of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) that is presently running the BCCI, made it clear that the decision on had to be taken on Tuesday. There was drama while naming the coach. Media reports in the evening named Ravi Shastri as the head coach but Amitabh Choudhary, the acting secretary of the BCCI, said that no decision had been made. However, by night, the BCCI confirmed that Shastri was appointed as the head coach, with Zaheer Khan to be made the bowling coach.
For Ravi Shastri, this is his third stint with the Indian cricket team. In 2007, following India’s disastrous World Cup campaign in which they were eliminated in the first round, Shastri was appointed as the manager for the tour to Bangladesh. Following the series, Shastri was appointed head of the National Cricket Academy in 2008.
In 2014, Shastri was once again called upon to head the Indian cricket team in a time of crisis. India had lost the Test series against England 3-1 and there were questions on coach Duncan Fletcher’s ability. The BCCI appointed Shastri as the director of the Indian cricket team and his second innings was a lot more fruitful. India won the ODI series against England, secured a Test series win in Sri Lanka for the first time in 22 years. India reached the semi-final of the ICC World Cup in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand before being beaten by West Indies at the same stage in the 2016 World T20 held in India.
Following the World T20, Ravi Shastri’s tenure was not extended and Anil Kumble was appointed head coach for a year, starting with a tour of the West Indies in July-August.
As a player, Shastri was one of the pillars of the Indian team in the 80s and early 90s. He typified the Mumbai school of grit, starting out as a lower order batsman but going on to open the batting and also supplement it with slow left-arm orthodox bowling. His all-round show (182 runs at an average of 45.5 and eight wickets) helped Shastri win the Champion of champions title at the 1985 Benson & Hedges World Championship that India won beating Pakistan in the final. In Tests, he is best remembered for an epic knock of 206 which he scored against Australia in Sydney in 1992.