16 August, Friday: The 3-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising of Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy did not deny about the fact that it was a close contest between Ravi Shastri and Mike Hesson for the head coach’s role, but what seems to have helped Shastri clinch the deal is his urge to erase the bitter memory of losing in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup held in England and Wales.
Speaking to IANS, Shastri made it all clear that he has unfinished business and the Indian Cricket team is headed for greatness with a brilliant leader in Virat Kohli.
“There were some pointed questions and one of them to Shastri was what went wrong in the semi-final against New Zealand. He made it clear that one bad day doesn’t make this team bad. In fact, he emphasized on how he has unfinished business as the team now looks to gear up for not one, but two World T20s -- 2020 and 2021. The confidence with which he said this made the committee believe that Shastri is the man who needs to guide this team forward,” the sources said.
The source further said that while there were many parameters in place, one of the major areas where Shastri beat Hesson to the job was the Indian Cricket team’s performance under him on foreign soil.
“The CAC was clear about the fact that champion teams do well on foreign soil. Every team does well at home and India has done the same over the years. But the team’s rise on foreign soil has been exemplary under Shastri. There is no denying the fact that the combination that Shastri and Kohli form is unparalleled in the current scenario and with Shastri acting as the guiding force, this team will only perform better in the times to comes,” the sources added further.
Quite Interestingly, Ravi Shastri also supposedly credit Indian Skipper Virat Kohli for the transition the team has made in recent times when it comes to being extremely professional as well as consistent with their performances.
“Shastri told the CAC that this team has a leader who believes in leading from the front and there is no way that the youngsters wouldn’t want to imbibe from someone like Kohli. He also told them how Kohli has set new benchmarks when it comes to the fitness standards and that has rubbed off on all the players who now believe that fitness is as crucial a part of being an international cricket as is batting and bowling well,” the same source said. While the general feeling said that the Indian would be re-appointed, the source said that it was a close call with Hesson who impressed all the three members.
“Hesson was really good. The committee had gone in with a clean mind and what the former Kiwi coach presented to them really had them impressed. But in the end, it was a case of Shastri knowing the boys inside out that clinched the deal for the former all-rounder,” the same source explained.