Ravi Shastri replaces Anil Kumble

A day after Ravi Shastri was appointed the coach of the Indian Cricket Team (men), there have been reports emerging that the choice was not a universal one. One of the members — probably the most outspoken of the CAC — Sourav Ganguly, we have come to understand, was not completely on board with the decision to appoint Ravi Shastri over the other candidates that included Virender Sehwag. Speaking on the occasion of the announcement of the decision, in a remarkably candid (and possibly off-the-record conversation), Sourav said, ‘it is not that Ravi Shastri is any less qualified than Viru [sic] or any other applicant for the job. He is as poorly qualified as the rest of them.’

Speaking to journalists, Sourav remarked, ‘we believe that the appointment of Ravi Shastri is a positive signal in the ongoing forward march of the Indian men’s cricket team. For one, his rapport with the Indian captain is known to be excellent, in that, he largely stays away and hence there are not too many chances for exchanges of expletives which is always great. In addition, his rich experience will come in invaluable especially in close finishes when he could play the dual role of rabble-rouser-in-chief with cliches that would instantly uplift the sagging and tense spirits. Third, and this is an internal matter but is important all the same, a part of his not-inconsiderable salary can be apportioned to the “cricketing” budget rather than it all coming from the “marketing. In the tough market conditions and with an increased focus on inter-departmental harmony and cost structures, this is a very important aspect to the smooth functioning of Indian cricket and the BCCI.’

When quizzed about the cloud surrounding Kumble’s departure, Sourav remarked, ‘look, this is not for me to speculate. It was a decision that was made regarding a former India test captain by a current Indian test captain in conjunction with a panel of former Indian test captains — that did not include this former Indian test captain. To clarify, the “this” here is not me but this past Indian coach. Who also happens to be the former Indian test captain. It might seem confusing but it is plain for all to see.’ Answering the question on whether there was room for a return to the position for Kumble, Ganguly said, ‘this is really not a question that I can answer; it is a question only time can. We have seen, in the past, that past Indian captains have become Indian coaches, who have then gone on to become past Indian coaches, only to re-emerge as present Indian coaches. In the same vein, the door can always be ajar for a past Indian captain to become the future Indian coach.’

Shastri, for his part, refused to be drawn into the debate about the former Indian test coach. ‘This was a decision that was taken for cricketing reasons. I can only say so much. Whether the decision is right or not, only time will tell. That might be a cliche but cliches are true. My last tenure flew past like a tracer bullet and I fully expect that at the end of this one, all three results are possible.’ Typically applying a finishing flourish, he signed off saying, ‘we need to keep in mind that whatever is being done is for the team, and always, in the end, cricket is the real winner.’

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