NEW DELHI: Ravi Shastri is set to become the Indian cricket coach again – in all probability. Amid much speculation and controversy surrounding Anil Kumble’s exit after an outstanding one-year stint as coach of the Indian team, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday decided to invite more applicants for the job.
Ravi Shastri, who was removed as coach last year despite having had, like Kumble, an outstanding one-year home run, told New Indian Express on the phone from London: “Yes, I have decided to apply for the job.”
When asked about reports that he would apply only if he is assured of getting the job, he replied, “that’s all bull crap” and insisted on being quoted verbatim.
This is the first time that the fifty-five-year-old former India all-rounder has openly said that he would apply for the coach’s job.
It has been widely reported that Virat Kohli had a very good working relationship with Ravi Shastri, a former captain himself and experienced broadcaster. The Indian captain was unhappy when the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) – comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman -- decided to replace Ravi Shastri with Kumble.
Though at that time Virat Kohli welcomed Kumble’s appointment, subsequent developments surprised everyone, and no one knows for sure what caused a strain in their relationship. Virat Kohli, it is believed, found Anil Kumble’s style of functioning overbearing, though Kumble has made it clear that at no time in his tenure did he cross the line a coach is supposed to maintain with the captain.
It has also been reported that Virat made it clear to the CAC that it wouldn’t be possible for him to work with Kumble, forcing the trio of former legends to recommend an extension for Kumble provided the problems between the two were sorted out.
Shastri is in London at the moment having just done a broadcasting stint for Star. He plans to be back in India by the third week of July. The Indian cricket board, which advertised for the job before the start of the Champions Trophy, had shortlisted Virendra Sehwag, Tom Moody, Dodda Ganesh, Lalchand Rajput and Richard Pybus, but have now decided to seek more applicants, a decision that has not gone down well with the Committee of Administrators (CoA) appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the board’s functioning and get the Lodha Committee recommendations implemented.
In this atmosphere of uncertainty, it will be interesting to see how many more will apply for the job and how many of them will be as high-profile as Virender Sehwag. More importantly, will M/s Ganguly, Sachin and Laxman vote for Ravi Shastri, the man whom they did not give an extension to the first time around.
Given Virat Kohli’s preference, it might be difficult to deny the Indian captain his choice of coach.