India news July 13, 2017

'Always the captain's team' - Shastri

ESPNcricinfo staff

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Timeline: Shastri's path to India coach

Ravi Shastri is clear on one thing as he takes over the position of India coach from Anil Kumble: the captain is the boss of the team. The coach and his backroom staff, according to the new India coach, are there only to make sure the players are in the right frame of mind to perform at their best.

Shastri beat four other candidates to the job and said he only applied for the position having understood the "gravity of the situation" once Kumble stepped down in less than ideal circumstances last month.

Shastri was team director just before Kumble was appointed coach last year, and he said he had been disappointed when he was overlooked as head coach in 2016. But after Kumble's one-year contract expired in June, the BCCI chose not to renew it and instead sent out an advertisement seeking candidates for the position. Kumble himself had been one of the applicants, even though he was told he would be given "direct entry". Shastri, though, was not.

The Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) - Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman - tasked with finding India's next coach told the BCCI that Kumble remained their first choice. But Kumble stepped down after realising the differences between him and the captain Virat Kohli had become "untenable".

It was then that Shastri decided to enter the fray, with the BCCI re-opening the interview process.

"I had not really wrapped my head around the gravity of the situation," Shastri told Times of India. "There was nothing personal. I really hadn't begun to understand the seriousness of this. But when I sat down and gave it a serious thought, I began to tell myself: 'Here is a unit that I have been part of and enjoyed a great working relationship with. Having been part of the unit that helped it become No. 1, I thought the onus is on me now to make it work again, in the best interests of everybody involved. That's when I knew it's time for me to apply again."

According to various individuals from the BCCI and CAC as well as the committee of administrators one big point of difference between Kohli and Kumble was who was the boss.

Shastri is more than happy to let the captain take charge. "It's always the captain's team and it is the leader who calls the shots. That's how it has always worked. A coach's role, effectively speaking, is to stay in the background and let the onus be on the players. The coach and support staff's role is to get the players in the most brilliant frame of mind to execute things and if done effectively, it brings enjoyment to the player's game."

Shastri said his relationship with the support staff - both Sanjay Bangar (assistant coach) and R Sridhar (fielding coach) were appointed by him - as well as the positive rapport he has with the players meant he could hit the ground running.

"I'm simply going to press the refresh button and begin from where I left. I know what I'm stepping into, players have an idea of what's coming, so that ticks the first box. Just to give you an idea, I won't be spending the first six to eight months in the job warming up to the team. That had already been accomplished in my previous stint. This time, it's going to be about getting on the job from day one."

Although Shastri and Kohli will be the men in command, a new challenge awaits them in the form of Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan, who have been appointed as consultants by the BCCI at the behest of the CAC. The CAC felt, with India travelling overseas in the next two years for challenging Test series' and the 2019 World Cup in England, the players needed experienced specialist hands to ensure success.

Asked for his thoughts on working with Dravid and Zaheer, Shastri was optimistic, but hinted he would have the last word on support staff appointments.

"In fact, even in my last stint, I had asked people like Rahul and Zaheer to come every now and then," Shastri told Mid-Day. "I even asked Sachin [Tendulkar] to come at some stage and have a chat with the boys. I always believe that you need a fresh set of ideas. Your core team is meant to do the job for 200 days a year and every now and then, whenever you get some fresh inputs through with the quality of players like Zak (Zaheer) or Rahul it can only be good.

"Tomorrow it could be an excellent fielding coach. What stops Jonty Rhodes from coming and having a chat with the boys? Overseas, I could pick the brains of a fast bowler who has bowled very well in those conditions - say in South Africa or Australia. It's fresh inputs that might trigger off something. I am always open to such kind of ideas."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Alex on July 15, 2017, 4:08 GMT

    @PRADIPTO No one in the world even enemy of shastri won't say he is not smart. Shastri is a clever cookie. We need to ignore what manjrekhar think. Anyone dhoni's fan is useless. Shastri said to keep the energy up. For shastri as a tiger , its all about energy and aggression. Kohli needs energy and shastri can give everything for kohli. But Kumble was draining , don;t do this and don;t do that. Indian players were pretty annoyed with kumble. They controlled themself of all the kumble mistakes. It will come out soon. Kumble has same intent as kohli but his methodology do not work in professional environment. Kumble infact worse than greg chappell ever was. Just because he was great bowler , we shouldn't have to glorify or worship him and mask his mistakes. That would be doing disservice to india. In political correctness atmosphere we can't be transparent with mistakes. So bygones are bygones. That said india won't win world cup with 150kmph fast bowler or great fielding team.

  • Alex on July 15, 2017, 3:59 GMT

    @FAIZ sorry , sarfraz is terrible captain in holder mode. Don't ask how. Watch it unreveal itself. Don't ask me then how did i know. follow my comments, you will figure yourself out.

  • Abelbenshepherds on July 15, 2017, 3:57 GMT

    Doctor doctor my kid is sick and my kid refused to be treated by the other doctor. Ok it's fine I know how to deal with your kid . I will give candies and stuff then he will be ok. So doctor you think my kid gets better . Not sure but I will be with him till 2019 . And you should think only on the process not the results . Got it . For fun kid is our captain and new doctor is our new coach and finally CAC is the one who feels like guardian to our captain. I feel cricketers need luck and favour , which kohli has plenty along with talent while lot of young cricketers in this era had talent but no luck and favour and this core will be there as long as they wish with axing players surrounding the core ! We Indian fans just enjoy the game and pray god they win even their stupid team selections. For example yuvraj did good in one day cricket and they selected him for world t20 . And many more things like that . Any way it is better to speak less of our situation.

  • faiz on July 15, 2017, 0:58 GMT

    This rule is not for every situation. Too much power to the captain has its own problems. We saw that in pakistan.If the captain is capable like Imran or Wasim you do well but if it is someone like Inzi, who was a great batsman but not so good a captain the team suffers. Inspite of having a strong team and full control on and off the field the team did really bad under him culminating in the 2007 WC .i dont know the stats but what I remember was a very unimaginative selection and very ordinary results. Now with micky and sarfaraz the balance is really nice. There is mutual respect and sarfraz gets his limelight too. Sarfraz is young and inexperienced so micky provides the guidance which sarfraz seems to take in. The combination is really working well for pakistan. Hope this can last a while. For india also a bit more cohesion and less of power struggle between the captain and coach would help. From where we see Virat Kohli appears to be very aggressive and may be a bit arrogant.

  • ravind5325032 on July 14, 2017, 20:55 GMT

    If coach is there only to inspire , then we can have some psychologist rather then a cricketer as a coach. With Ravi as coach , I am sure kohli is going to get what he deserve . Failure as captain and success as a player (Had to wish for his personal success as I am Hugeeee Kohli fan, but his attitude really sucks ).

  •   Sanjay Kulkarni on July 14, 2017, 16:55 GMT

    jumbo was not the right guy to start with. he is too stiff to begin with! so a wrong match with a belligerant captain! but he is a great cricketer in his own right and a rebel within himself! kohli has to let be aggressive and he should not be curbed. As it will hurt his batting. you have to let loin be a loin. they reprimanded him at the world cup and it completely took wind out of his aggression! And it cost india the CUP!

    shastri knows kohlis strength and weakness and he thrives to leash him and not curb him! in public he never discourage him. he will just reason with him behind the scenes! which is a righ thing to do. but he will crack the whip around one and all to get best out of the cast. if you folks think he is a softie, you have the wrong idea!

    jumbos will learn and his time will come-again. he is a fine guy and can offer a lot to indian cricket. for now he has to learn to loosen up a little( jumbo has pythons as collections guys!)

  •   Sanjay Kulkarni on July 14, 2017, 16:45 GMT

    SHASTRI is pefect for KOHLI. it is about time they took the next step and plan for the world cup!

    the middle and lower order sucks! and bowling needs improvement with folks offering no pace as they are playing throughout the year with no rest and sustaining injuries!

    shammi was barely reaching 125 other day! are you kiddin me?

  •   Sanjay Kulkarni on July 14, 2017, 16:43 GMT

    those folks who are crying and they make more have no effing clue. if messi makes 25 mil why not kohli? infact more people watch cricket than soccer at a given time( most of the soccer games are club based and no body watches international friendlies. barring world cup it is also highly localized).

    if pay package for national duty is on par with international standards the players can have proper rest and improve their skills. Right now they hav been run around like gypsies to make a dough! for whom?

    just because it is india ferrari is not cheap. in fact it costs 3 times more than it would in italy, uk or even the US. so let us not be jealous. let the folks deserve the best if they are the best!

    poor pujara is getting 250k salary( that is a starting salary at google man!). how pathetic is that? And no body wanna coach for mere half mil pay. this is indian team we are talking about and no body should touch that job for less than 5 million bucks!

    yes! you heard from me-And loud!

  •   Sanjay Kulkarni on July 14, 2017, 16:33 GMT

    --shastri is a perfect choice. --he is a master at working with people and also the first person to press indian home advantage. --he was shunted out for no reason to start with. --shastri has terriffic knowledge of the game and it was unfair to not to have given him a decent run in the first place but rather calling on him only in spates- during crisis. --thankfully the 3 members especially ganguly came to their senses and did wrong the right. ---nothing wrong with kumble. he has always been bull-headed do his own thing kind of cricketer but wont work with the coaching system especially in india. ---kohli is an aggressive character and he mostly plays bare. he is not a great tactician and that is where shastri comes inn. ---shastri let him be--kohli-- but help him in other aspects of the game. ---shastri himself a tremendous batsman in all sorts of conditions( aus,eng) check his records! --he also loves big stage. so unlike most of the haters, it is the right choice to have him till

  • alomar7598965 on July 14, 2017, 12:15 GMT

    Coach is not responsible or accountable for results, if you read between the lines from Shastri. He just needs to be a spin doctor

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