Sourav Ganguly unwilling to get in tussle with Ravi Shastri over 'absent' remark
Former Indian skipper and current president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), Sourav Ganguly, refused to be drawn into an altercation with former Team India Director Ravi Shastri over the latter's remarks that the 43-year-old, who along with Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman constituted the Cricket Advisory Committee entrusted by the BCCI to select the new coach of the Indian side, was absent when his interview was being conducted for the role.
The Times of India had reported on Friday that it was Ganguly who played a key role in elevating Kumble’s name as the main contender for the role when at one time Shastri looked the obvious choice considering the success he achieved with the Indian side during his tenure. Shastri, along with Sanjay Bangar, B Arun and R Sridhar joined the Indian backroom staff after India’s disastrous Test outing against England in 2014 and oversaw a resurgence that culminated with a run to the semi-finals of the 2016 World T20.
Though the hosts failed to win the tournament, India showed tremendous promise following Duncan Fletcher’s departure as coach post the 2015 World Cup and Shastri had intended to continue his association with the side, filing his nomination for the coach’s post as soon as the BCCI laid out its advertisement for the role. But Shastri’s wish went unfulfilled as the BCCI opted for Anil Kumble, handing the legendary leg-spinner a one-year contract.
Speaking in the aftermath of Kumble’s appointment, Shastri had expressed his disappointment at missing out on the role.
"I was very disappointed. Disappointment because the hard work the entire unit had put in in the last 18 months. To see where they were when the support staff and I took over and to where they reached in 18 months makes me feel proud,” Shastri had said. "They got up, threw punches and ended up where they were. No. 1 in Test cricket, No. 1 in T20, No. 2 in ODI [at various points during Shastri's tenure]. Even I didn't' expect such a transformation in 18 months with this young team.”
He then made an interesting revelation when asked about how the interview process with India’s legendary trio went. The former all-rounder said that Ganguly was not even present at the time he made his presentation via video conference from Thailand.
"Well, actually he wasn't there," he told the Indian Express.
The official explanation from the CAB was that Ganguly had to head to the Eden Gardens for a CAB Working Committee meeting and could only return to the Taj Bengal, where the interview was being held, by 6.30 in the evening, meaning he was unavailable for Shastri’s interview that was held between 5 and 6 pm.
Shastri’s remarks, however, has not failed to catch Ganguly’s attention but the former Indian opener was unwilling to give a clear-cut answer on the matter.
“The (coach selection) interview is absolutely confidential. I don’t want to talk about Shastri’s comment. You should also ask the other members of the (cricket) advisory committee,” Ganguly said.