Will West Indies Tour Be Ravi Shastri’s Last Series As Head Coach?
India and their head coach, Ravi Shastri, have travelled to the West Indies to take part in three T20 games, three ODIs and two Test Matches. This series is not just another bilateral series, either. Instead, it forms part of the ICC World Test Championship series. The first T20 will take place on 3rd August and cricket bettors can find betting odds of 13/8 on the West Indies. Meanwhile, India has odds of 1/2 at the sportsbooks.
Last Series For Ravi Shastri
Shastri, who is the head coach of the Indian cricket team, had his contract renewed in the middle of the 2019 ICC World Cup for a 2-month period. This temporary contract comes to an end once the West Indies series is over. It’s therefore quite possible that this will be his last series as head coach.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced in July that they were accepting applications for the head coach role. They also pointed out that Shastri would have to reapply if he wanted to continue as head coach. There has been no official confirmation of Shastri reapplying. Nevertheless, he enjoys a close relationship with the Indian players, who in turn would like to see him continue as head coach. Therefore, one can assume Shastri will be one of the candidates.
Virat Kohli Bats For Shastri
Indian captain Virat Kohli, who is a big supporter of Ravi Shastri, told media that he would prefer for Shastri to continue as the head coach. Kohli confirmed that the BCCI has so far not asked for his input on who he would like in the role. Should they give him a call, though, he said he would back Shastri once again.
Anil Kumble, who was the head coach prior to Ravi Shastri, did not have a good relationship with Virat Kohli. That was the reason why he resigned. Whoever the BCCI hires as the head coach will have to be able to work closely with Kohli or be prepared to go the Kumble way.
Some cricketing pundits claim that the Shastri-Kohli relationship has worked well because they are alike. Others also claim that Shastri is happy to let Kohli get his way as long as he continues to remain as the head coach.
Shastri Has Failed When It Mattered
India have done reasonably well with Shastri as the head coach. The bigger question, though, is whether India would have done better if they had someone else as head coach? The Shastri-Kohli partnership have made numerous blunders during their tenure. This is especially true when it comes to picking the final eleven in both Test and ODI cricket.
The biggest disappointment was Shastri being unable to fix the number 4 and 5 positions in time for the 2019 World Cup. This ultimately cost India a place in the final. Shastri used the injuries suffered by Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay Shankar to downplay the stability of the middle-order. The fact remains, however, that he had more than 2 years to identify and groom batsmen for these two spots. Ultimately, he failed to do so.
Former Indian all-rounder, Robin Singh, has stated that it is time for India to get a new head coach. He highlights that India have failed to win the 2015 and 2019 ICC World Cup with Shastri as head coach.
Who Can Replace Ravi Shastri?
The Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) have been tasked with the responsibility of interviewing and shortlisting the next head coach. One of India’s greatest cricketers, Kapil Dev, who played with Shastri, chairs the CAC.
The CAC is yet to confirm the list of candidates that have applied for the post. Unofficial rumours suggest that Mahela Jaywardene, Tom Moody, Virender Sehwag and Gary Kirsten could be potential candidates. The interviews for the new head coach are expected to take place in the next two weeks.