Newly-appointed India coach, Ravi Shastri, sat down with BCCI on Tuesday and got what he wanted. He got what he was deprived of by Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), which comprises Indian cricket greats Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman.
In other words, Shastri bypassed CAC's decision to impose former pacer Zaheer Khan on him as the bowling coach. Bharat Arun - who was Shastri's first choice for the job - was given the post. It was earlier reported that Ganguly had reservations about Shastri's appointment, but he was convinced by Tendulkar, in return of favour the former skipper got Zaheer on board.
Also, no clarity was provided on the role of Rahul Dravid by BCCI. The former batter was appointed as batting consultant. Shastri had a cryptic response to a question on the role of Dravid and Zaheer.
"All depends on their availability, it depends on individuals, the number of days they want to give but their inputs will be invaluable and they are most welcome."
Looks like the hunt is over. The selection process turned into a circus and finally ended on an embarrassing note for the three former greats. The seeds of embarrassment, however, was sowed a year back by the committee itself.
The committee was questioned about the appointment of Dravid and Zaheer as they had apparently gone beyond their brief and they were to select only the head coach. In response, they shot a letter to COA chief, Vinod Rai, expressing "pain" and wrote about their integrity. But in all honesty, CAC has exceeded its ambit on more than one occasion.
The committee was established in 2015 to act as a guiding light for Indian cricket. The responsibilities included guiding the national team and strengthening domestic cricket. But for some reason it prefers national coach selection job over everything else.
Exactly one year back, CAC broke the successful partnership between Team India and Shastri in favour of Anil Kumble, who had no prior coaching experience. Also, no explanation was given behind Shastri's removal - someone who enjoyed a great relationship with Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. The incident led to a public spat between Ganguly and Shastri. We all know who had the last laugh.
Interestingly, Kumble's name was not part of the 21 names shortlisted by BCCI for the job. The CAC asked for his name to be included and gave him the job. But Kumble was offered only a one-year contract, leaving him on a sticky wicket right from the beginning of his tenure. It didn't take long for Kumble and Kohli relation to turn sour, the partnership became "untenable" and the CAC's chosen candidate stepped down after the completion of his contract to avoid further embarrassment.
In 2017, when CAC could do nothing to avoid Shastri, they decided to tie him down with the appointments of Dravid and Zaheer. Basically, undermining the coach's right to select his own support staffs and exceeding their brief. BCCI realised the mistake and allowed Shastri to pick his own people.
Indian cricket is back to square one. The coach and support staff combination of 2016 is back. Only time will tell how the turmoil will affect Indian cricket, but the bitter episode has certainly left a big question mark on the role of the committee.
One must realise that Indian cricket cannot function at the whims and fancies of a few and in larger interest of the game, giving a rest to the committee won't be a bad idea.
Feature image: AFP