Not many would have bet against Ravi Shastri losing the Team India head coach job. While the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) insisted that it would not ask Virat Kohli or any other member of the Indian team before appointing the new coach, Shastri’s name was always on the cards.
Before Team India’s departure for the West Indies tour, captain Kohli had backed Shastri to continue as coach.
Kohli’s statement was bound to make some difference if not much in the head coach selection. Shastri eventually retained his coaching job. The four other candidates who were interviewed by Kapil Dev-led CAC were Mike Hesson, Tom Moody, Lalchand Rajput, and Robin Singh. Well, it has now been revealed that Shastri almost lost Team India coach job to Mike Hesson.
A senior Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) functionary recently said that there was a close competition between Shastri and Hesson before the former won it. Hesson’s remarkable track record with New Zealand from 2012 till 2018 had almost sealed the deal for him.
“It was not a walk in the park for Shastri as some of you seem to believe. Hesson was close to getting the go-ahead. It is there for all to see how the New Zealand team improved by leaps and bounds under him across all formats.
“From being the perennial surprise package in big-ticket events, they had become a champion side under him, and that is something that impressed the CAC.
“Under his coaching, the Kiwis reached their first-ever World Cup final in 2015. While he did resign in 2018, the Kiwis playing their second final on the trot in 2019 also had a lot to do with what Hesson brought to the table. His strategizing with the senior members in the team can’t be discounted,” the functionary was quoted as saying in Hindustan Times.
Under Hesson, the Black Caps made it to the World Cup final against Australia in 2015. Overall, they won 21 of their 53 Tests, won 65 of their 119 ODIs and won 30 of their 59 T20Is.
The BCCI official further revealed the reason behind selecting Ravi Shastri. The official said that it was Shastri’s experience as a player on the international stage that made the difference.
“The CAC felt that Shastri’s proven record as a player was one area that needed to be given due to recognition as one’s own stature might become an area of concern when handling a team which has big names.
“Hesson hadn’t played enough cricket himself and as we know started coaching in his early twenties. Shastri, on the other hand, played 80 Test matches and 150 ODIs. That is something that went against the Kiwi,” the functionary added.
Shastri’s new contract, meanwhile, will continue till the T20 World Cup in 2021.