‘Ravi Shastri is the right choice, but...’: Sourav Ganguly on India head coach
When Ravi Shastri was pipped by Anil Kumble for the head coach job in 2016, he blamed former India captain and former Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) member Sourav Ganguly for the snub. A year later, Ganguly was on the same panel that welcomed back Shastri in the coaching role. The 57-year-old recently got his contract extended for another two years and will be part of the team till 2021 T20 World Cup.
Terming Shastri as the right choice for the job, Ganguly has opined that the board did not have many choices and said that he will have to repay the faith by winning a World Cup.
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“Ravi is the right choice. They didn’t have too many choices as not many had applied (for the coach’s job).
“Ravi has been doing this for five years, and has now been given this responsibility for two more years. I don’t think anyone else in history has got such a long time with the team. He is the right choice, but now he has to repay the faith placed in him. He has two T20 World Cups coming up (in 2020 and 2021), and in such big tournaments, India needs to find ways to win,” Ganguly said.
Shastri’s first stint in the backroom staff was a short one – he travelled with the team to Bangladesh (in 2007) as cricket manager. In 2014, he took over as team India’s Director after 1-3 drubbing against England in Tests. The departure of Duncan Fletcher from the head coach position post-2015 World Cup saw Shastri head the coaching staff before his contract came to an after T20 World Cup in 2016.
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In 2017, Shastri only applied for the position in the second go when BCCI reopened the applications after Kumble’s resignation.
Under him, India have had mixed results overseas. They did become first Asian team do defeat Australia in Tests Down Under but India also lost series in South Africa (1-2) and England (1-4). At World Cup 2019, Virat Kohli and co lost to New Zealand in the semi-final.
Shastri, a member of 1983 World Cup-winning team, is yet to win an ICC trophy as the coach and his best chance will come with two back-to-back T20 World Cups lined up to be played in 2020 and 2021.