Ravi Shastri's tenure is set to continue with BCCI's Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) appointing him till the 2021 T20 World Cup.
It was always a given that Ravi Shastri was the frontrunner to resume his tenure as India's head coach with a strong backing from Virat Kohli. But his off-field persona and domineering attitude hadn't gone down well with a section of the media and fans. As such, his re-appointment remained an unpopular choice even if he was always the favourite.
On Friday, the BCCI's Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprised of Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and former Indian women's skipper Shanta Rangaswamy unanimously agreed to retain Shastri after going through the presentations of five other candidates.
Apparently, former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson and Australian Tom Moody finished close with the second and third positions. Shastri's appointment had raised several questions about the process followed for the re-appointment, so much so that Kapil Dev got angry at the questions and retorted with - "Do I have to repeat who is the coach? It is Ravi Shastri"!
While public sentiments have been primarily against Shastri, has he really done much wrong for the team aside from his unwarranted comments in the press?
Under Shastri, India won a Test series in Australia for the first time, even if it was against an Australian side sans Steven Smith and David Warner. India fought tooth and nail in England and South Africa and even if they did not win the series, came off impressing with their bowling attack, an unprecedented high for an Indian Test team.
"I can't see any other Indian team in the last 15-20 years that has had the same run in such a short time, and you have had some great players playing in those series," Shastri had said. Even if that should be taken with a pinch of salt, Shastri's record as head coach is commendable.
— Mike Hesson (@CoachHesson) August 16, 2019
Under him, India won ODI series against Sri Lanka (5-0 and 2-1), Australia (4-1), New Zealand (2-1) and South Africa (5-1). They lost to England and was ousted in the semi-finals of the World Cup but were still one of the best limited-overs teams in the whole tenure.
Even though Virat Kohli's opinion wasn't sought by the CAC, it is well acknowledged that Shastri is strongly backed by the Indian skipper. The respect is mutual too with Shastri backing Kohli the batsman and Kolhi the skipper vehemently on several occasions.
The chemistry between the two is another reason why Shastri's re-appointment isn't a mistake. A common quality of every world-beating side is a coach and a captain who think in sync and Shastri - Kohli has just that.
In a world that is so unpredictable, there was but one certainty. No surprise that Ravi Shastri continues as coach of the Indian team.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) August 16, 2019
An overall view of India's record under him oozes more confidence - 13 wins in 21 Tests, 43 in 60 ODIs and 25 in 36 T20Is. Shastri has dealt fire with fire and under him, India have been bullish as an International team.
The team's incredible success is one reason why a lot more was expected from Shastri. He put India in the peak of its cricketing prowess and anything less than a win was not received well. As such some of those defeats were difficult to digest for the fans. With his brash attitude and sarcastic comments, Shastri was an easy scapegoat for the fickle fans.
But the truth remains that under him, India were exceptional. He shares a fantastic rapport with the skipper and put forward a compelling presentation to the CAC members if reports are to be believed. That he spoke of development in the grassroots and NCA reveals the visionary side of a coach who has kept Indian cricket at the top for the last few years.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar