Farcical enactment

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The BCCI-Ravi Shastri coach drama had all the ingredients of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller but in the end, the script turned out to be that of a Bollywood masala movie. It was nothing but a farcical enactment of a simple job. It was obvious that once Anil Kumble stepped down as coach, Shastri would be back in the seat because the ‘team members led by captain Virat Kohli’ wanted him back. This was an open secret. Life has turned full circle for Shastri in just a year. To be fair, Shastri had done a decent job in his 18-month tenure as team director. Then the mandarins of the BCCI found a disciplinarian in Kumble to take charge of the team. The BCCI, in yet another eyewash tactic, had invited applications for the coach’s job but in the end, Kumble, from nowhere, ended up taking the coveted post. The same three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman had rejected Shastri’s candidature, who had also applied for the post then. Shastri blamed Ganguly for the ouster, claiming that the former India opener — as a member of the three-man CAC — lobbied for Kumble to replace him and convinced the other panel members, Tendulkar and Laxman, to do the same. Ganguly retaliated by saying Shastri should not sit in Bangkok and give a presentation while being on a holiday when the ‘interview’ was being conducted in Kolkata. Ironically, Ganguly was again a part of the committee, this time in Mumbai, that appointed Shastri even though he was outside the country. That’s BCCI’s game of cricket!

Even for this ‘selection’ of the coach, the CAC had to meet in London during the Champions Trophy because of the sudden developments and tried to convince Kohli for Kumble’s continuation but they failed. The CAC threw the ball in BCCI’s court before finally the committee was asked to complete the job. The drama started from London with BCCI’s CEO Rahul Johri first flying to West Indies and then to the CAC meeting in Mumbai on Monday. There was another twist in the tale. They wanted Kohli to return from the US before announcing the name of the new coach. But Committee of Administrators chief Vinod Rai asking the BCCI to announce the name of the coach on Tuesday itself worked like a magician’s wand. However, the suspense continued till late hours before the BCCI pulled out Shastri’s name, and others like Virender Sehwag and Tom Moody fell by the wayside. There were two surprise names on the support staff list – left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan as bowling coach and Rahul Dravid as batting consultant for overseas Test matches till 2019. Their inputs will add value to the team. The BCCI is certainly to be blamed for this inept handling. With the drama over and Kohli having the last laugh, it is up to Shastri to take the team back to its winning ways although Kumble had impeccable home series.