Big 3 rebuffed: Ravi Shastri gets to pick core staff

ravi sastry

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. BCCI sent out a statement, confirming that it is indeed the Team India camp that will have a say on the support staff
  2. Shastri and captain Virat Kohli, along with the rest of the team will work on putting a new support staff in place
  3. India are scheduled to undertake some tough overseas tours in the next year-and-a-half

MUMBAI: A day after the COA (Committee of Administrators) conceded that the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) had exceeded its brief in picking the support staff for the Indian team, the Indian cricket board sent out a statement on Thursday, confirming that it is indeed the Team India camp that will have a say on the support staff that head coach Ravi Shastri should have moving forward.

The BCCI did not mention the names of Zaheer Khan and Rahul Dravid-appointed consultants on Tuesday-in a press statement sent out on Thursday. Instead, it said: “The recommendation for Ravi Shastri was made on the merit of his presentation and the vision that he projected. After taking the decision on his selection, the CAC consulted him and decided on having batting and bowling consultants on overseas tour-to-tour basis, as per the requirement of the team.”

Shastri and captain Virat Kohli, along with the rest of the team will work on putting a new support staff in place: Bharat Arun (bowling coach), Sanjay Bangar (batting) and R Sridhar (fielding coach).

TOI has learned that BCCI’s statement was sent out after ex-CAG Vinod Rai – the CoA head-asked BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary to do the needful – clearly setting aside the CAC’s recommendations on Zaheer and Dravid.

What the BCCI may not be admitting here is that they are reversing the decision conveyed in an earlier statement, sent out this Tuesday, that Zaheer was being appointed as the bowling consultant of the team and Dravid as overseas batting consultant alongside Shastri. Thursday’s statement simply omitted the names without saying much except that support staff would be picked as required by the team.

The CoA had categorically said on Wednesday that the CAC – comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V V S Laxman – had gone beyond their remit in appointing Khan as bowling consultant with the Indian team while giving junior national coach Dravid the additional charge of becoming the overseas batting consultant.

As far as the hiring of consultants from time to time is concerned, the thought process of the team seems to be clear. India is scheduled to undertake some tough overseas tours in the next year-and-a-half.

On that front, there is already a plan in place. For instance, ahead of the five-Test tour of England, BCCI could get Jason Gillespie – who has been extremely successful with English county Yorkshire-to work with the Indian team for around 40 days. Similarly, the services of Fannie de Villiers could be roped in when in South Africa. When in India, even Zaheer Khan can play a role.

“Why just stick to specific individuals when there’s a choice available and there’s an option to use the horses-for-courses policy?” say those involved in the Team India camp.

Post the recent ICC Champions Trophy, where the Indian fielding was substandard to say the least, there’s a thought that good expertise needs to be brought in. “Let’s say we continue with Sridhar because he’s been with the team for a while and understands who brings what to the table. But that’s not the point. How about bringing someone like Jonty Rhodes to first spend some time with our fielding coach so that he can be in tune with the best practices,” they add.

If things fall in place, Rhodes could head to Sri Lanka with the team for a stint to put an effective plan in place. “There’s no point bringing in a high-profile individual and sticking to him alone for two years when there’s an option of getting them on board as and when needed,” say Team India camp sources.

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