By reposing faith in Ravi Shastri and giving him the support staff of his choice, the decision makers in Board of Cricket for Cricket in India (BCCI) have made it clear they are looking at India’s 2019 World Cup semi final finish in a positive light.
The historic Test series win in Australia was India’s biggest achievement under Shastri-Kohli combine but does that give the complete picture? Ask Sourav Ganguly if India’s unbeaten run in lead up to World Cup knockouts is creditable or should the semi final exit be seen as an underachievement?
“The team was capable and it still is but you have to start winning big games,” Sourav Ganguly told India Today on sidelines of My11Circle’ a fantasy gaming platform promotions.
“The team has no dearth of talent. A team that has Virat [Kohli], Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Shikhar Dhawan is not short on talent. But it’s also true that we lost the semi finals in 2015 World Cup, in the 2016 T20 World Cup and now in 2019 World Cup. They will have to find a way to win knockout games. That is the puzzle they need to solve. They need some luck, take some risks and find a way,” Ganguly said.
Ganguly was part of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) that picked Anil Kumble ahead of Ravi Shastri as coach in 2016 for a year until the breakdown in relations with Virat Kohli forced the legendary leg-spinner out. Ganguly was reportedly not keen on Shastri again, being a member of CAC in 2017 when Virender Sehwag too had applied. On that occasion, Shastri bagged the job.
However, Ganguly said Shastri is the right choice this time around among the applicants. Shastri pipped the likes of Mike Hesson, Tom Moody, Lalchand Rajput and Robin Singh after a Kapil Dev-led Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) conducted interviews for the role of Team India head coach earlier this month.
“Ravi is the right choice. They (Kapil Dev-led CAC) didn’t have too many choices as not many had applied,” Ganguly added.
However, Sourav Ganguly maintained that the head coach has the responsibility to help India win big tournaments in the 2-year stint.
“Ravi has been doing this for five years (except one year of Anil Kumble) and now been given this responsibility for two more years. So I don’t think anyone else in history has got such a long time with the team. He is the right choice but he now has to justify. He has two T20 World Cups ahead and in such big tournaments, India needs to find ways to win them,” Ganguly said.