Is Ravi the right man to coach India?
Six people, Lal Chand Rajput, Robin Singh, Mike Hesson, Ravi Shastri, Tom Moody, and Phil Simmons were in contention for the much-coveted, extremely high pressure and an exceedingly lucrative job of the coach of the Indian Men's Cricket Team. The former Afghanistan coach, Phil Simmons backed out in the last minute citing personal reasons. thereby leaving only five people vying for the spot. On 16th August 2019, the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) led by Kapil Dev with Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangasamy as its members unanimously chose Ravi Shastri to continue as India's coach till the 2021 T20 World Cup while also mentioning that Mike Hesson and Tom Moody were their second and third preferences respectively.
Now, has Shastri performed so well that was the unanimous choice for all three of them?
The criteria based on which they scored the five men were made public. They were Coaching Philosophy, Experience of Coaching, Achievements in Coaching, Communication, and Knowledge of Modern Coaching Techniques. Now, the question arises. Are these factors sufficient enough to consider someone for the role of a coach? Shouldn't there be a much more holistic method to the number crunching? Sure, the team and especially Virat loves Shastri around but isn't the CAC supposed to go beyond his choice if they feel its necessary?
The numbers, as most people would say, are in favor of the VK-Shastri duo, but let us for a moment consider the numbers that matter. The three test tours to SA, England, Australia and the CWC in England. For a team that spoke about setting lofty standards for themselves, the results, one must agree, were not overwhelming. However, they did compete much better this time around than their last tours to these three countries.
The fact that we spilled a chance to win all three tours and perhaps the CWC as well is not pushover argument by any means. We sent some of our strongest contingents ever and especially the bowling had the might to pick up 20 wickets time and again. Now, if we could play the devil's advocate here, fingers must be pointed towards the leadership team in Kohli and Shastri who decided to drop Vice Captain Ajinkya Rahane for Rohit Shamra in SA and Cheteshwar Pujara for KL Rahul in England, both based on white-ball form. Both the moves backfired as both Rahane and Pujara had to return to their positions following poor performances from Rohit and Rahul. They did it astoundingly with match-winning contributions in Johannesburg and Nottingham respectively. There were other major team selection issues as well like picking Kuldeep on a seaming track at Lord's and dropping Bhuvi for the second test in SA after he put on a stellar show in the first test. The ordinary cricket fan was okay with all these glitches in selection perhaps, but what many fans couldn't get their head around was why Dhoni was batting at 7 during the CWC semi-final. The think tank should have trusted the abilities of the big man and sent him out to weather the storm at 5. He'd set it up perfectly for the charismatic Pant and the experienced finisher in DK to take India home. The decision-making abilities of this duo are clearly in question. What Virat needs right now to take the team to title victories in major tournaments is a calming presence and an astute thinker of the game who meticulously pens down a vision for the future and can help him out in making sound decisions in crunch moments. Mike Hesson and Tom Moody both have the qualities up and over what was laid down in the criteria for the coach's role. But hey, which Indian cricket team fan wouldn't be happy if Kohli- Shastri prove us all wrong and bring many more laurels to our wonderful cricketing nation.