India in England 2014 August 19, 2014

Corrective measure to boost spirits - BCCI secretary


Sanjay Patel, the BCCI secretary, has said the appointment of Ravi Shastri as the Indian team's director, and the reshuffle in the coaching structure, was a "corrective" measure to arrest the waning spirits among the players in England. Patel also made it clear that despite India suffering heavy defeats in the last three Tests in England, the BCCI was not thinking of replacing the captain MS Dhoni and the coach Duncan Fletcher.

Though the decision to put Shastri in charge of the team, and temporarily replace bowling and fielding coaches Joe Dawes and Trevor Penney with Indian staff, was taken by the BCCI, Patel said Dhoni and Fletcher were on board. "I conveyed the BCCI decision to both of them. Dhoni readily agreed and even Duncan has not said a word here or there."

"The team is with Ravi Shastri. Now it is his baby," Patel told ESPNcricinfo. "He will handle everything. If he asks me for any help I will extend."

Shastri's appointment was suggested by Patel, who spoke to the former India allrounder before proposing his name to the BCCI office bearers. When asked if Shastri was the only candidate discussed, Patel said he had the necessary credentials. "We looked at all options. I must appreciate that Ravi Shastri readily agreed to work in the interests of the Indian team. I asked him, 'This is a challenge, Ravi.' He said, 'Sure Sanjay, we can work out something.'"

Patel did not elaborate on Shastri's responsibilities or the division of duties between him and Fletcher. "He will do everything that is required for the team," Patel said. "They (Shastri and Fletcher) will decide the roles between themselves."

When asked what led the BCCI to create a position that had not existed before, Patel said the board felt the players would need some sort of rejuvenation after losing the Test series 3-1.

"We wanted to see what was wrong with the boys. We have full faith in all our players. To support the Indian team, this was the best option to start with. You mean to say our boys do not know how to play cricket. But mentally the players could have been upset. So we wanted to appoint someone who could also work on the mental conditioning. We felt Ravi's experience on field and off field, and his long tenure in cricket as a ex-captain and now commentator, were handy."

India's loss in all the major overseas Test series under Fletcher's watch has sparked an outcry from former India captains and selectors to sack him. Patel did not speculate about Fletcher's future. "It is premature to discuss," he said. "Right now the situation through which the Indian team is going, we have taken the first step. We are not thinking beyond that. After the completion of this tour we will review everything and then decide further action if required."

When asked if there had been any pressure from within the BCCI to think about a replacement for Dhoni as captain, Patel said: "Not at all. Our full support is with him for the entire series. I am absolute about that. I have told him that I have complete faith in him. The rest of the decisions will be taken by selection committee."

Patel also said it was incorrect to conclude Dawes and Penney had been sacked. "You cannot say that right now. We have not discussed anything about their contracts. We have just asked them to step aside. They can go on holiday, or go back home. They can even come to India if they want." Dawes and Penny were replaced by R Sridhar, B Arun and Sanjay Bangar.

The contracts for Fletcher, Dawes and Penney had been renewed as recently as April, when they travelled to Chennai to meet Patel, N Srinivasan, the suspended BCCI president, along with senior board officials. "Under the current situation we felt corrective steps were required," Patel said. "Even if I had taken a decision few months ago but if it was needed to change that now, there is nothing wrong."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anand on August 26, 2014, 14:45 GMT

    If India lose the 1 day series then both Dhoni and Fletcher should be ready to resign.

  • Jason on August 20, 2014, 10:26 GMT

    @KARKRISH, I don't know much about the Indian domestic game, surely there is a capable keeper out there, maybe not as good with the bat but good behind the stumps. That would allow Dhoni to take a step to the right, into first slip (where I think he would thrive), and become a batsman.

    This means you cant then play a 5 man attack, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, 3 seamers and a spinner, what happened to Ohja (or is it Ojha)? He seemed quite a good spinner. I was very impressed with Kumar, and at times Sharma.

    The problem was that Kumar was over bowled and towards the end he looked exhausted. Sharma should have been bowled in shorter spells allowing him to get more venom, when he got a wicket his pace went up 2-3mph. I was also impressed by Aaron, but again he was bowled for spells that were too long.

  • Bob on August 20, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    The problems with the Indian team don't start with the coaches and the support staff.. They can only work with what they are given.. and what they are given by the selectors obviously isn't good enough. The root of the problem rests much higher up the order..with too much concentration on the majot money makers...ODI's and IPL... which leaves the players little or no time to acclimatise themselves in foreign conditions. Look around the counties in England and you will find players from Pakistan, Sth Africa, New Zealand, Australia, W Indies, and Sri Lanka but not a single Indian one gaining experience.. Then the powers that be wonder why the Indian team fail miserably when they play away from home.

  • Android on August 20, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    I personally want dinesh mongia to be a batting coach for India and please make sanju Samson captain for at least till the world cup.

  • John on August 20, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    Fletcher already had Dravid working with him as team mentor. If England were to win the ODI series, what would Mr. Patel do then? Bring in Gavaskar to work with Shastri, Dravid and Fletcher? And if India went on to lose the T20s, bring in Tendulkar to work with Gavaskar, Shastri, Dravid and Fletcher?

    Pretty soon they'll have more managers and mentors than players.

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    Are these corrective measures? time only will tell. But of late one can see that foreign coaches are faltering where as home grown coaches are doing well. An example would be Sri Lanka and Athapattu. Under his tutelage Sri lanka has moved up from 7th to 4th in test rankings. But this knee-jerk reaction by BCCI may well be to hide what ails Indian team under the cover of Fletcher. Can ravi fill the glaring gaps that are evident in the team. The reality is that the batters are not short of talent or technique, but mental strength. So really need is not just a cricket coach but a mentor who understand the human mind cognitive process and pinpoint the flaws in each player based on inter-personal interaction with each player. Right now if one were to do a SWOT of Indian team, weaknesses will occupy couple of slides and strengths hardly half a slide. Opportunities are that pass by or that which the team pass by. Clearly neither the team SWOT or match SPIN has not been worked out by coach.

  • SK on August 20, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    As always, those players who were not in the squad become heroes. Most of us say, if they were there !!!.eg: badrinath, U yadav, sehwag, etc .This happens only if we fail miserably.. I dont think that the team selection was a goof up.. still think that this is the best we can put up.. always there will be debate on 2 or 3 players. As gavaskar righly said Shastri cant change anything immediately..but if Indian team happens to win ODI series, everyone will hail shastri as if he did a great job. in IPL when DD was failing miserably, Richards was roped in as mentor & they won the next match. As usual our media went overboard to say how Sir Viv transformed the side. After one win, DD continued the poor form..No Batsmen has a 100% perfect technique.. in addition to technique you need GRIT and GUTS..which players like Dhoni has & Sehwag had. While itz important to stay at wkt and itz equally important to score runs also. coaching cant give you mental strength grit n guts. You need character.

  • Supratik on August 20, 2014, 3:27 GMT

    If Dhoni is still capt in Aus, it will be 4-0 again. At least Eng don't have that much killer instinct that they gifted India one test match. Aussies will not be so kind...

  • Steven on August 20, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    Not sure Ravis influence will help Indian cricket much normal service will resume they will go home do well then go to Aussie and get hammered again for a complete clean out from top to bottom is needed for India dhonis influence needs to be stopped he's not helping the team to progress in my view Kholi has to captain for me and India have find players that they think would succeed overseas someone like samju Samson would come in to the team if I had anything to do with it in tests firsts then gradually work in into the other formats as he gets more experienced

  • Karthikeyan on August 19, 2014, 19:48 GMT

    India A performed better in Australia tour (both test & ODI) which included South africa as well (won the cup). It is very clear that senior team needs change or at least needs rotation of players. Unless you people understand where the issue is, the result will be same. PLEASE CHANGE OR ROTATE PLAYERS and not MGMT staff.

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