Exactly a year ago, when Anil Kumble was appointed as the head coach of the Indian cricket team ahead of Ravi Shastri, the former team director had lashed out at the CAC, specifically targeting Sourav Ganguly for not even attending his full interview. Since then, the two big men of Indian cricket have shared a love-hate relationship often making public comments against each other. So, when Ravi Shastri applied for the job of head coach of the team having a solid backing of captain Virat Kohli, the only possible hurdle in his way was probably Sourav Ganguly. “Virat (Kohli) will need to understand how coaches operate. At the same time, you have to give credit to him that he has stayed out of the coach selection process completely. We will have a detailed chat with him once the team is back from the West Indies,” the former captain was quoted saying on July 10 after the CAC had interviewed all the candidates.
Come July 12, Ravi Shastri is already the coach of the Indian cricket team. “On Cricket Advisory Committee’s recommendation, we have decided to appoint Ravi Shastri as the chief coach while Zaheer Khan will be appointed bowling coach for a period of two years till 2019,” BCCI acting president CK Khanna confirmed on Tuesday evening. Yes, it’s the same Cricket Advisory Committee that Sourav Ganguly is a part of and that wanted to have a chat with Virat Kohli.
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But, once again in a country where cricketers are treated as Gods, a superstar had his say. As soon as the news broke, Twitterati started to bash Ravi Shastri but what wrong did he do to be sacked in the first place? The bigger the question is why do you even need legends like Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly sitting in a closed room, taking interviews for hours if a Virat Kohli is running the team from the dressing room? Who is to blame? Is it Virat Kohli or the BCCI? Well, the answer is both.
Under Shastri, the team was doing well, the players were comfortable working with him and yet the BCCI decided to shuffle things. The fact is BCCI now lacks a supremo. The cricketing body doesn’t have someone of Jagmohan Dalmiya or N Srinivasan’s status who knows how to run cricket in the country. This is no way justifies Virat Kohli’s stubbornness to get rid of Kumble and bring back Shastri.
Watch Sourav Ganguly’s comments from July 10:
The players too need frequent reminders that they are not bigger than the game. When Sourav Ganguly, a captain who took charge of the side after the match-fixing scandal and converted it into a powerhouse had his differences with coach Gregg Chappell, it wasn’t the latter who was sacked. By then, Ganguly had won a Champions Trophy, Natwest series and also led the side to the final of 2003 World Cup. So, when a captain with such a good record was made to step down why is it that Kohli, who just took over as the captain of the side has such a huge say in the selection of coach!
No doubt that he is one of the finest cricketers of this generation and a great leader but this isn’t the right example he has set. What this incident teaches us is that BCCI needs to sort out a few things and it has to do it fast.