Addressing the media ahead of India’s tour of the West Indies 2019, Virat Kohli had said that he would like to see Ravi Shastri continue at the head coach. On Friday, Shastri was reappointed for two years by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), a decision that was expected. His term will again be up for review after the 2021 T20 World Cup in India.
Shastri emerged as the frontrunner among the other five candidates – former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson, Australia’s Tom Moody, former India team-mates Robin Singh and Lalchand Rajput – and finally won the battle for the coveted role. Former West Indies and Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons pulled out of the race, citing personal reasons.
Each of the interviewed candidates was marked on 100 on parameters: Coaching Philosophy, Experience of Coaching, Achievements in Coaching, Communication, Knowledge of Modern Coaching Tools. And Shastri, having the best communication skills among all, pipped the rest.
“Being the current coach, Shastri knows the boys well, and he knows the problems well in the team. He knows what needs to be done. I think he is well versed with the entire system while the others are not,” former India batsman Anshuman Gaekwad, a member of CAC, who coached India between 1997-1999, said to the reporters in Mumbai.
“The other candidates probably had to start afresh, so we were trying to find what it could be like for Indian cricket if they were appointed as head coach. That’s why we went with somebody who knows the system and the players very well and who could communicate well. In that way, Shastri has the advantage.”
Among the other candidates, Shastri’s record was unmatched as Team India reached the No.1 ranking in Tests under his watchful eyes and also won a series in Australia for the first time in 71 years. India have won 11 out of 21 Tests, 43 out of 60 ODIs and 25 T20 Internationals out of 36 under Shastri.
CAC chairman Kapil Dev too admitted that Shastri had better communication skills as compared to the rest.
“Shastri has better communication skills; the others in the committee may have not felt that way, we did not discuss that. We gave our marks and put them on that sheet,” he said.
Asked if the CAC’s decision was influenced by captain Kohli, who backed Shastri for a second term, Dev replied in the negative.
“Not at all, because if we take his (Kohli) views, we would have taken the entire team’s views too. We haven’t asked anyone. There was no scope for that,” said Kapil.
It was not only Shastri’s bonding with the team that got him the job again but also his vision going forward.
“All of them gave their way forward. We weighed it with past performances, and that swung it in Ravi Shastri’s favour,” former India women’s captain Shantha Rangaswamy said.