India news August 20, 2014

A good step but much more needed

Ravi Shastri has plenty of cricketing nous and can help jolt players out of their comfort zones, but his appointment should be the first of many decisions for the BCCI
40

There's a new sheriff in town. The old coterie has been broken. Some action is better than none. Duncan Fletcher, Trevor Penney and Joe Dawes have had too long a run without proper scrutiny.

Under the Fletcher fleet, India have won the Champions Trophy, reached a World T20 final, beaten Australia, West Indies and New Zealand at home. They have also forfeited a simple chase in a Test in the West Indies, have endured two whitewashes away, failed to close out Tests in South Africa and New Zealand, now lost haplessly in England, and have looked an ordinary ODI side in Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa.

Looking at just the results is a bit unfair. Players go out and play on the field; there is only so much the coaches can do. Yet if you look at the shambles India's slips are, the way bowlers have regressed over time, and the way the batsmen's techniques have come apart in England, the support staff has something to answer for. That it is happening in the middle of a tour, and six months before a World Cup, shows what a shambles the BCCI itself is.

That the BCCI has gone to its crisis manager, Ravi Shastri, is predictable. It always turns to him in crisis. After the Greg Chappell-era left India on a low, Shastri took the team to Bangladesh. When the Supreme Court asked the BCCI to nominate a neutral panel to investigate corruption in the IPL, Shastri was asked to step forward. When a coach is selected, Shastri is on the committee. He played part in the selections of Greg Chappell and Gary Kirsten as coaches. He is the loudest supporter of BCCI on airwaves.

Don't underestimate his cricketing sharpness and acumen, though. Whatever views people might have of Shastri the commentator, he is a sharp cricketing brain. It's another matter he doesn't share too much of it on commentary. He is also bullish by nature. He can't be bad for a team going through a spell of caginess. Throughout this tour, and the previous few, the team's media manager has been paranoid about journalists being seen near the team nets or team hotel, fans being too close to the nets, or too many fans getting too close to the players when asking for autographs. This kind of behaviour can insulate players. It's as if they are doing something wrong, and they need to hide away.

Shastri will ask them to open up. He will tell them they are not running the defence ministry. He will ask them to have fun and express themselves. He will free up a lot of minds. Earlier during the tour one of the India cricketers had a problem with an ESPNcricinfo headline that had a pun in it. The media manager was asked to convey the displeasure. If Shastri had been the coach and had he known this was bothering a player, he would have told the player these things don't matter. Runs and wickets and catches do.

Shastri has done interviews as soon as he has joined, and has not hidden behind excuses. He could bring the badly needed mirror to the dressing room. For instance, he won't be shy of telling MS Dhoni he gets up too early in his keeping stance, and that he needs to go for catches between him and slip. He has temporarily got rid of Penney - brought in by Fletcher - and Dawes - in turn brought in by Penney. He can pull players out of their comfort zone.

Shastri will bring old-fashioned tough love. This much was obvious when he managed the team in 2007. During one of the first net sessions he conducted, he asked the newcomer RP Singh to bounce a senior batsman. Shastri wanted to see how the batsman was going. RP didn't seem too keen on annoying the senior. He got a mouthful from Shastri, who then stood as an umpire and made sure the bouncers were bowled. The senior had to go through that tough session.

Shastri the cricketer was a courageous, resourceful and tough overachiever. He could match banter with banter, abuse with abuse, and good bowling with a dead defensive bat. He was confident, well-rounded, and a mature enough cricketer to have in mind a career when his cricket would be over. He would have made a good captain and a good coach. India looked meek and in a trance of defeat towards the end. Shastri can yank them off that treadmill. They might still lose, but they won't repeat same mistakes over and over again.

Shastri can be blokesy. He will simplify things for the team. You can't be sure if the BCCI is thinking along the same lines, but he can be a bit of a Darren Lehmann. That, however, is when Shastri is at his best. At his worst he can be non-committal and avoid roles that bring accountability. Lehmann has taken a full-time job that he can be held accountable for. Shastri, like many other former players in India, won't. By all accounts, he is here only for this ODI series. Ironically the man we hope will pull the cricketers out of their comfort zone needs to leave his own comfort zone.

At the moment this looks like an appointment to pull the team's morale out of the dumps, and to also assess from closer quarters how Fletcher works. Fletcher is on notice. Where Indian cricket goes from here depends on how this move is followed up on. Surely two assistant coaches can't explain away three years of poor performance outside Asia? Surely all of Shastri's bravado, experience and wherewithal can't paper over the fundamental issues that the BCCI should have begun reviewing in 2011? It can only be hoped that this is a first step of many.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sir_Ivor on August 21, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    I was impressed with Ravi Shastri from his hurried baptism to Test cricket in New Zealand in 1981. I recall he took 3 wickets and I think batting with the tail remained not out. Later in 1982,he was asked to open for India against Pakistan in Pakistan against the likes of Imran, and co, I think he scored a century and did well. Having seen him play often, it was clear that he had very few strokes actually, most prominent of them being the leg side flicks and lofted on drives. The thing is despite these limitations, he has a double century each in West Indies and Australia against quality pace bowlers. He also performed superbly in the World Championship of Cricket in 1985 and won the player of the tournament after India won. This says that he has adaptability and courage. He may not have been too technical in the Bombay mould but he was more like Javed Miandad. A winner as he proved in the only Test he led India in. At Madras in 1987/88. I think he will do well with this India team.

  • here2rock on August 21, 2014, 22:18 GMT

    @ thank you La_Bangla, I think a lot of the fans are of the same opinion. Fletcher is still in the mix of things, India will be carrying the old baggage, I think India needs a shake down in Test Cricket overseas, let's take a fresh approach. There is enough talent in the side but ways to get better results need big improvement from better scheduling to better planning and executing those plans. You can't just do the processes and expect results, make things happen Team India

  • rajkirp on August 21, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    Shastri is the new boss along with Fletcher as coach. What if Shastri and Fletcher disagree on any issue? Whose word will be final? Either have Shastri or Fletcher - not both? Clever to retain Fletcher but have replacements for Penny and Dawes. Because, irrespective of the Indian team performance in ODI, Fletcher will be in a Lose-Lose situation. If India wins, credit will go to Shastri and if India loses, Fletcher will still cop the blame. Again, if BCCI really wanted to check the downfall of Indian cricket, it should have been Ganguly and not Shastri. I'd like to see some with winning background (Ganguly) heading Indian cricket. I am not anti-Shastri, but for me he is not one who can be the saviour. As an avid Indian cricket fan, it does not matter to me who is the boss as long as Indian cricket does well. Since Shastri is now the director, here is wishing him well to take Indian team forward.

  • DC75 on August 21, 2014, 16:27 GMT

    @debashish Josh, totally agree, you missed out some more names - Kedar Jadav in particular, nothing wrong with that guy, if you give as many chances to him as Rohit then we could have had a few more runs on board in England than this pathetic line up. If a player is not in form drop him, you do not have to wait for 5 tests and come to conclusion that Virat and Pujara are out of their depths, they are good but not good enough not to be dropped...pity we took only one extra batsman on tour and that is Rohit Sharma...

  • Aroundthelegsgoogly on August 21, 2014, 16:05 GMT

    I'm sure the team will be back playing "magnificent" cricket.

  • Retour on August 21, 2014, 14:55 GMT

    It should be noted that as the Director, Shastri is overseeing not just Fletcher but also Dhoni. For me, it is hard to imagine that Fletcher has a greater influence over the team than Dhoni. Hopefully, Shastri's presence would make both of them more focused.

  • vgopalk on August 21, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    This is the usual suspects supposedly "doing" something. It's the BCCI circling the wagons once again!

    You need a coach who is in your face. Appointing timid coaches who kow-tow to the captain on everything, is a recipe for disaster.

    Above all, follow the lead of Michael Clarke - remove the Captain from the Selection Committee (of selecting players for tests / ODIs).

  • venkatesh018 on August 21, 2014, 14:14 GMT

    So, how do people know that Shastri has a shrewd cricketing brain, if by your own admission, he doesn't show too much of it in his commentary?

  • Smithie on August 21, 2014, 13:44 GMT

    @Nutcutlet the profit margin for the BCCI is under threat since the sponsorship funds will not come from association with humiliation. The brand value of the BCCI/IPL has diminished substantially due to poor governance and onfield performance. The solution is right before their eyes. Mugdal will point the way.

  • on August 21, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    Team India is perfectly fine and no one is out of form. they're just acting to get attention from the deprived fans. trust me they'll win the odi series, t20 and test series vs west Indies and Australia. just wait n watch.

  • Sir_Ivor on August 21, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    I was impressed with Ravi Shastri from his hurried baptism to Test cricket in New Zealand in 1981. I recall he took 3 wickets and I think batting with the tail remained not out. Later in 1982,he was asked to open for India against Pakistan in Pakistan against the likes of Imran, and co, I think he scored a century and did well. Having seen him play often, it was clear that he had very few strokes actually, most prominent of them being the leg side flicks and lofted on drives. The thing is despite these limitations, he has a double century each in West Indies and Australia against quality pace bowlers. He also performed superbly in the World Championship of Cricket in 1985 and won the player of the tournament after India won. This says that he has adaptability and courage. He may not have been too technical in the Bombay mould but he was more like Javed Miandad. A winner as he proved in the only Test he led India in. At Madras in 1987/88. I think he will do well with this India team.

  • here2rock on August 21, 2014, 22:18 GMT

    @ thank you La_Bangla, I think a lot of the fans are of the same opinion. Fletcher is still in the mix of things, India will be carrying the old baggage, I think India needs a shake down in Test Cricket overseas, let's take a fresh approach. There is enough talent in the side but ways to get better results need big improvement from better scheduling to better planning and executing those plans. You can't just do the processes and expect results, make things happen Team India

  • rajkirp on August 21, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    Shastri is the new boss along with Fletcher as coach. What if Shastri and Fletcher disagree on any issue? Whose word will be final? Either have Shastri or Fletcher - not both? Clever to retain Fletcher but have replacements for Penny and Dawes. Because, irrespective of the Indian team performance in ODI, Fletcher will be in a Lose-Lose situation. If India wins, credit will go to Shastri and if India loses, Fletcher will still cop the blame. Again, if BCCI really wanted to check the downfall of Indian cricket, it should have been Ganguly and not Shastri. I'd like to see some with winning background (Ganguly) heading Indian cricket. I am not anti-Shastri, but for me he is not one who can be the saviour. As an avid Indian cricket fan, it does not matter to me who is the boss as long as Indian cricket does well. Since Shastri is now the director, here is wishing him well to take Indian team forward.

  • DC75 on August 21, 2014, 16:27 GMT

    @debashish Josh, totally agree, you missed out some more names - Kedar Jadav in particular, nothing wrong with that guy, if you give as many chances to him as Rohit then we could have had a few more runs on board in England than this pathetic line up. If a player is not in form drop him, you do not have to wait for 5 tests and come to conclusion that Virat and Pujara are out of their depths, they are good but not good enough not to be dropped...pity we took only one extra batsman on tour and that is Rohit Sharma...

  • Aroundthelegsgoogly on August 21, 2014, 16:05 GMT

    I'm sure the team will be back playing "magnificent" cricket.

  • Retour on August 21, 2014, 14:55 GMT

    It should be noted that as the Director, Shastri is overseeing not just Fletcher but also Dhoni. For me, it is hard to imagine that Fletcher has a greater influence over the team than Dhoni. Hopefully, Shastri's presence would make both of them more focused.

  • vgopalk on August 21, 2014, 14:28 GMT

    This is the usual suspects supposedly "doing" something. It's the BCCI circling the wagons once again!

    You need a coach who is in your face. Appointing timid coaches who kow-tow to the captain on everything, is a recipe for disaster.

    Above all, follow the lead of Michael Clarke - remove the Captain from the Selection Committee (of selecting players for tests / ODIs).

  • venkatesh018 on August 21, 2014, 14:14 GMT

    So, how do people know that Shastri has a shrewd cricketing brain, if by your own admission, he doesn't show too much of it in his commentary?

  • Smithie on August 21, 2014, 13:44 GMT

    @Nutcutlet the profit margin for the BCCI is under threat since the sponsorship funds will not come from association with humiliation. The brand value of the BCCI/IPL has diminished substantially due to poor governance and onfield performance. The solution is right before their eyes. Mugdal will point the way.

  • on August 21, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    Team India is perfectly fine and no one is out of form. they're just acting to get attention from the deprived fans. trust me they'll win the odi series, t20 and test series vs west Indies and Australia. just wait n watch.

  • rakesh-kumar-mistry81 on August 21, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    One simple answer: BCCI just send most team India players into a county season in UK, 1 year before any England tour. India players need to play in UK conditions for a longer period, and get used to fielding in the colder weather and batting on swinging, seaming, bouncy and pacy tracks.

  • Clyde on August 21, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    How can the BCCI be one of the big three when India played so badly against England? It's all about money, it is said, but can cricket have descended quite to that point?

  • La_Bangla on August 21, 2014, 12:45 GMT

    @here2rock - I entirely agree with your thoughts. Shastri as a commentator doesn't even have his own opnion. He generally wait and hear what the majority has to say and repeats it loudly to make it sound like his own. Probably that's the attitude that got him this top job. How can you expect such individual to turn this team around from such a mess?

  • La_Bangla on August 21, 2014, 12:39 GMT

    @here2rock - I entirely agree with your thoughts. Shastri as a commentator doesn't even have his own opnion. He generally wait and hear what the majority has to say and repeats it loudly to make it sound like his own. Probably that's the attitude that got him this top job. How can you expect such individual to turn this team around from such a mess?

  • Ms.Cricket on August 21, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    So who is the player and what is the headline that upset him earlier during the tour.

  • on August 21, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    Unless Shastri can commit to a full time role, this won't make much of a significant difference. If Shastri is the man to get the side back on track, then he should be asked to take on the role seriously, not for a short stupid ODI series. Yet another act of pointlessness from the BCCI.

  • yoohoo on August 21, 2014, 9:49 GMT

    Contd ....

    I don't see any logical mistakes on the BCCI part. The blame really lies squarely on the players and coaches.

    - We might not like Dhoni's test captaincy, but the fact is that there is no one else. So, we should stop complaining unless we can come up with a credible alternative name. Sehwag and Gambhir lost the plot 2 years ago, and so Dhoni stays.

    - Chopping coaches is not the answer to anything. A coach needs 2-3yrs to make an impact, and especially with a young squad. Fletcher had to be given the opportunity to mould the team.

    - India already goes on more A-tours than any other country over the last 3 years. The problem is not A-tours, the problem is with catching up with international standards after mastering the A-level.

    - We can argue about jadeja, ashwin, binny etc. but they were not the primary reason for the bad performances. If Irfan Pathan was not always injured for the whole year (except IPL), he would have been playing in that role.

  • yoohoo on August 21, 2014, 9:41 GMT

    I don't get all the too late etc. etc. criticism going around.

    1. India got a shock in 2011 tour of england, as a result of that 7 senior players have been removed from the team (Dravid, Laxman, Sachin, Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer, Harbhajan) in a gradual manner over the next one year (you cant drop the whole team at once. Logical thing to do. Also remember Fletcher had nothing to do with the 2011 tour, he had just joined the team before the first match!

    2. The best young talent - dhawan, kohli, pujara, rahane, bhuvi, shami, aaron - among the lot were given chances. Logical thing to do.

    3. The young folks were introduced slowly through 2 test series to international test cricket, and then they were sent to england, where they won a test in lords. Things went bad after that, but it was a failure of the coaching staff and some of the young players - kohli, pujara, shami, dhawan - that were the main contributors.

    Contd.

  • here2rock on August 21, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    I remember Ravi getting run out in an ODI in Australia and clapping off his own team mate Srikanth on the other end in anger. His own record is very poor at International level, can he make difference to this team? I don't think so. He has not been honest in evaluating India' s performance in the last three test matches in England, he puts it down to inexperience, it was more to do with poor team culture, poor scheduling, poor captaincy, no accountability and poor team selections.

  • Nutcutlet on August 21, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    Ah, the BCCI has at last woken up! Someone must have told them that, overall, things haven't been going quite as well as one might have hoped. As Sid in his article and -Will- in his comment have noted, this is very late in the day. What, then, has prompted this call for the return of Sheriff Shastri to get rid of the fear/deference (that anecdote about RP Singh bouncing the unnamed senior in the net was most revealing) that exists in the Indian dressing room; get rid of the sense of fatalism that is so clearly shown in the shrug- shoulders team ethos & smarten up the whole act (catching; running between wickets, etc.)? Well, no one should be surprised. Work out the patently obvious: when one talks of the BCCI, everyone must always remember their overwhelming motivation: profit! Results on the field can (and have) been ritually ignored, but any impact on the money-making... is a different & far more serious matter. The penny has dropped, at last. The profit margin must not shrink!

  • on August 21, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    I am sorry , I wish I could have agreed with you . Seems like a plug Ramanujam Sridhar

  • on August 21, 2014, 7:50 GMT

    Mr Monga's articles are always interesting & to the point. Apart from whatever is his brief, if Ravi Shastri can manage to inculcate only three things into the limp & docile Indian team, it may be a big positive step to a better future : 1) Self Discipline 2) Accountability to self / team / country, 3) Passion to Perform. It will be expecting too much for a Test Cricketer to be taught how to play a swinging ball, run between wickets or how to take slip catches. If someone can't handle these school basics, he is obviously in the wrong trade !! Shastri's has to be stern & not soft pedal these high-flyers, who consider themselves to be demi-Gods. It is still expected that India will do better in the ODIs & T-20 matches in England.

  • on August 21, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    As always, a very well written article by Sid. Following is worth reading twice -- "Ironically the man we hope will pull the cricketers out of their comfort zone needs to leave his own comfort zone."

  • on August 21, 2014, 7:25 GMT

    Bring in Shastri or Lehmann or Kirsten or Buchannen or Simpson, you simply can't teach cricket at this level. To me a coach's role is a little over rated in a game like cricket. May be you can pass the bowler a trick or two when you find some weakness in the opposition ranks batting in a test match but if the opposition has as much quality as Australia or South Africa you can't simply do much. We lost because we had a mediocre bowling attack and a low quality batting contingent. If pujara and kohli can't perform surely can't anyone playing out there in Ranjis perform too. This is what we have and this is what we have to work with in the next 2,3 years. All we can try and do is play out for draws away by improvements made to defensive techniques. Let us admit, we do not have a series winner in the team now.

  • Realistic_cri_fan on August 21, 2014, 4:55 GMT

    Another lavish but unreal article.The author praised Jadeja as a warrior after Lord's test.We all know what he did after that.Now we will see what Ravi Shastri can do.Expectations of Indians are so high.That's one of the reason for team's failure.

  • on August 21, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    I don't think removing Dhoni from captaincy is feasible at the moment. Firstly his performance with the bat is still acceptable. Secondly, even if a Kohli or someone else becomes captain, there is no way they can do a job with Dhoni still around. Dhoni is like the boss of Indian cricket today, practically speaking. So I feel the best bet is to have a senior person like Shastri with the team, who can probably make Dhoni reconsider things like playing xi and strategy which seems to be the weak point of Dhonis captaincy...

  • on August 21, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    Dinesh mongia should be made batting coach because of his aggressiveness and temperament. He along with shastri will take India to new heights.

  • InsideHedge on August 21, 2014, 3:32 GMT

    Another superb article from Sid Monga, I love reading your analysis. Long may it continue.

  • _-Will-_ on August 21, 2014, 1:46 GMT

    I really think the last two sentences of this article capture the essence of the issue: "Surely all of Shastri's bravado, experience and wherewithal can't paper over the fundamental issues that the BCCI should have begun reviewing in 2011? It can only be hoped that this is a first step of many". Couldn't agree more.

    I don't know what Ravi Shastri et al. can achieve in a few days prior to the ODI series, or for its duration, but the author's statement that "some action is better than none" is also one I can sypmathise with. At this stage, why not.

    I care mainly for test cricket, have a mild interest in ODI's and no interest in the other form. Therefore, I must wait until the West Indies series to discover if any meaningful changes have been made. If Dhoni participates in the coin toss before the first test, while the playing XI is populated with the usual undeserving suspects, I will know that all this was nothing more than a PR exercise, devoid of meaning or substance.

  • davidgo on August 21, 2014, 1:42 GMT

    When is Dhoni going to be dumped as test captain? Much as he has done ok with the bat, his keeping is clearly not test standard. The biggest concern, however, is his woeful record as captain when India plays in Australia, England and, to a lesser extent, in South Africa. He is probably part of the selection panel on overseas tours and if this is the case, he needs to explain why Ashwin didn't get a go until the 4th test, particularly when the English offie Khan took so many wickets. On another matter, why isn't Umesh Yadav not part of this team? In my view, he is a better long term prospect than any of the current crop of military medium pacers we have on display.

  • Nampally on August 21, 2014, 0:52 GMT

    Mr. Monga you have provided a great summary of Shastri's attributes which he brings to the job. The best one I like is "he brings old fashioned tough love"! There are 3 things which every guy in XI needs to remember: 1. Accountability 2. Disciplined batting, bowling & fielding 3. Determination to fight back however uphill the task is. Indian batting fell like "Dominoes" both at Old Trafford & at the Oval. There was absolutely no fighting spirit in the team & nobody had the guts to stay at the crease. England bowling was average with occasional ball doing the tricks. On this wkt. if a Test batsman could not score, they should not be selected in the XI. I am sure Shastri will tell the guys just in as many words- i.e. Take them out of the comfort zone!. Not replacing injured Ishant with Umesh Yadev after Lords Test was totally unacceptable. Similarly why did the same 5 batsmen play at the Oval after failing twice at the Old Trafford- incl. 4 wkts, for 8 runs? Dhoni needs to be grilled!

  • indianzen on August 20, 2014, 22:59 GMT

    this is the issue with Media and the fans... when something comes in, we talk it like its the best and when things fail, we are not afraid to spit it... It happened to Kohli and Pujara were compared to Sachin and Dravid when they were introduced, but look at whats happening now...

  • santoshjohnsamuel on August 20, 2014, 22:39 GMT

    All very fine, but Shastri has been put in charge of the ODI team. We were always okay in that area; it's the Tests that we need to take care of. Or am i missing something here?

  • glen1 on August 20, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    Shastri has come in at the right time. The team has reached such dead low, that any progress will be seen as an improvement. If losses are not that bad, and some of the reckless stars score runs, and win one or two ODIs, it will be considered great. However, winning the ODI series should be the gold standard for evaluating Shastri's contribution.

  • theguynextdoor77 on August 20, 2014, 19:25 GMT

    The fundamental problem with Indian cricket is the pitches. As long as they keep on making flat pitches without any kind of seam, swing or movement, our batsmen will always falter when playing abroad. India will ALWAYS win at home with the low bouncing pitches and spinners taking wickets but will struggle abroad. If the goal is to win in countries such as England, Australia & South Africa, replicate the playing conditions...as simple as that. Mind you, initially our batsmen will struggle, however long term all of our quality batsmen will learn how to bat on the seaming conditions and will perform well abroad. A batsmen like Shikhar Dhawan (categorized as flat track bully) will either learn how to play in testing conditions or new batsmen will arrive who can handle these green pitches. It will also benefit our fast/medium bowlers who hardly get any assistance in pitches in India when they bowl. We need to get away from our batsmen worship and realize the value that bowlers provide!

  • on August 20, 2014, 18:49 GMT

    The fundamental problem with Indian cricket is not to realise the fact that we no more produce that many quality cricketers. Most of the players are very average to below average. For instance although we know that Shikar, Virat and Rohit have glaring technical deficiencies we expect them to be our top three batsmen in ODIs. Badrinath, although a much superior test player than Virat doesn't get a chance at all. Md. Shami a very average run of the mill pace bowler is hyped as the next pace sensation. Jadeja a pretty ordinary test match bowler plays more tests as frontline spin bowler than Ashwin, Mishra and Ojha. Saha doesn't get a chance in the test team becoz Dhoni is there. KL Rahul is not blooded and Gambhir with his miserable technique continues.

  • NewYorkCricket on August 20, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    Why not send Sandeep Patil. He is the head selector and a former coach himself. He is probably more plugged into this Indian team, than Shastri himself. He was tough character himself in his days.

  • simplyamey on August 20, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    Don't underestimate his cricketing sharpness and acumen, though. Whatever views people might have of Shastri the commentator, he is a sharp cricketing brain.

  • switchmitch on August 20, 2014, 18:32 GMT

    Very nice read and is an honest assessment of things as they stand in Indian Cricket...

  • perl57 on August 20, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    Is India gone by all means in the world cup? No, I feel. Because no team has actually shown any capability of winning. Will it be tough to reach semis? With this line up? It will be easy. Shastri is one of the shrewd brains of the cricketing fraternity. Selecting him now is a good choice and India would do well to do away with fletcher right away and let Arun and Sridhar be given a chance. "Earlier during the tour one of the India cricketers had a problem with an ESPNcricinfo headline that had a pun in it." And yes, even Shastri would be given a weardown by BCCI if he supports any media and against our very own players. What players would have been told is another thing in the dressing room but we should encourage not trash away for the love of hating BCCI and IPL. Bottom line: Welcome Shastri, Getout Fletcher. Also welcome Sachin, Rahul and Anil as consultants at least until the end of WC.

  • perl57 on August 20, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    Is India gone by all means in the world cup? No, I feel. Because no team has actually shown any capability of winning. Will it be tough to reach semis? With this line up? It will be easy. Shastri is one of the shrewd brains of the cricketing fraternity. Selecting him now is a good choice and India would do well to do away with fletcher right away and let Arun and Sridhar be given a chance. "Earlier during the tour one of the India cricketers had a problem with an ESPNcricinfo headline that had a pun in it." And yes, even Shastri would be given a weardown by BCCI if he supports any media and against our very own players. What players would have been told is another thing in the dressing room but we should encourage not trash away for the love of hating BCCI and IPL. Bottom line: Welcome Shastri, Getout Fletcher. Also welcome Sachin, Rahul and Anil as consultants at least until the end of WC.

  • switchmitch on August 20, 2014, 18:32 GMT

    Very nice read and is an honest assessment of things as they stand in Indian Cricket...

  • simplyamey on August 20, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    Don't underestimate his cricketing sharpness and acumen, though. Whatever views people might have of Shastri the commentator, he is a sharp cricketing brain.

  • NewYorkCricket on August 20, 2014, 18:41 GMT

    Why not send Sandeep Patil. He is the head selector and a former coach himself. He is probably more plugged into this Indian team, than Shastri himself. He was tough character himself in his days.

  • on August 20, 2014, 18:49 GMT

    The fundamental problem with Indian cricket is not to realise the fact that we no more produce that many quality cricketers. Most of the players are very average to below average. For instance although we know that Shikar, Virat and Rohit have glaring technical deficiencies we expect them to be our top three batsmen in ODIs. Badrinath, although a much superior test player than Virat doesn't get a chance at all. Md. Shami a very average run of the mill pace bowler is hyped as the next pace sensation. Jadeja a pretty ordinary test match bowler plays more tests as frontline spin bowler than Ashwin, Mishra and Ojha. Saha doesn't get a chance in the test team becoz Dhoni is there. KL Rahul is not blooded and Gambhir with his miserable technique continues.

  • theguynextdoor77 on August 20, 2014, 19:25 GMT

    The fundamental problem with Indian cricket is the pitches. As long as they keep on making flat pitches without any kind of seam, swing or movement, our batsmen will always falter when playing abroad. India will ALWAYS win at home with the low bouncing pitches and spinners taking wickets but will struggle abroad. If the goal is to win in countries such as England, Australia & South Africa, replicate the playing conditions...as simple as that. Mind you, initially our batsmen will struggle, however long term all of our quality batsmen will learn how to bat on the seaming conditions and will perform well abroad. A batsmen like Shikhar Dhawan (categorized as flat track bully) will either learn how to play in testing conditions or new batsmen will arrive who can handle these green pitches. It will also benefit our fast/medium bowlers who hardly get any assistance in pitches in India when they bowl. We need to get away from our batsmen worship and realize the value that bowlers provide!

  • glen1 on August 20, 2014, 20:56 GMT

    Shastri has come in at the right time. The team has reached such dead low, that any progress will be seen as an improvement. If losses are not that bad, and some of the reckless stars score runs, and win one or two ODIs, it will be considered great. However, winning the ODI series should be the gold standard for evaluating Shastri's contribution.

  • santoshjohnsamuel on August 20, 2014, 22:39 GMT

    All very fine, but Shastri has been put in charge of the ODI team. We were always okay in that area; it's the Tests that we need to take care of. Or am i missing something here?

  • indianzen on August 20, 2014, 22:59 GMT

    this is the issue with Media and the fans... when something comes in, we talk it like its the best and when things fail, we are not afraid to spit it... It happened to Kohli and Pujara were compared to Sachin and Dravid when they were introduced, but look at whats happening now...

  • Nampally on August 21, 2014, 0:52 GMT

    Mr. Monga you have provided a great summary of Shastri's attributes which he brings to the job. The best one I like is "he brings old fashioned tough love"! There are 3 things which every guy in XI needs to remember: 1. Accountability 2. Disciplined batting, bowling & fielding 3. Determination to fight back however uphill the task is. Indian batting fell like "Dominoes" both at Old Trafford & at the Oval. There was absolutely no fighting spirit in the team & nobody had the guts to stay at the crease. England bowling was average with occasional ball doing the tricks. On this wkt. if a Test batsman could not score, they should not be selected in the XI. I am sure Shastri will tell the guys just in as many words- i.e. Take them out of the comfort zone!. Not replacing injured Ishant with Umesh Yadev after Lords Test was totally unacceptable. Similarly why did the same 5 batsmen play at the Oval after failing twice at the Old Trafford- incl. 4 wkts, for 8 runs? Dhoni needs to be grilled!