It is not often that one gets to appreciate a decision taken by the BCCI for the national team. Recently when in the wake of the end of the disastrous Test leg of India’s tour of England Ravi Shastri was appointed as the team director over Duncan Fletcher, the head coach, there were many who would have scoffed at the move. After all, he is known to be a vociferous supporter of the BCCI, something that does not go down too well with many people in the country. For them he was just a board appointee, a stooge who was expected to fail but somehow for the national team as well as its ardent supporters things have turned out to be different and it is welcome even to the detractors of the BCCI.
The Indian team has demonstrated a marked change from the listless outfit that contrived to fall over in a heap against Moeen Ali of all people in the Tests. The change of jerseys, form and perhaps the inclusion of people like Suresh Raina, who is regarded as a short overs specialist, has evidently worked wonders for Team India that has continued to lord it over against England. This is easily one of the finest displays put in by the Men in Blue in recent memory. The good thing is Ravi Shastri’s role in this cannot be discounted at all.
A fantastic motivator
Shastri, to start with, is someone who calls a spade a spade – something that is of great help for players as it lets them know where they truly stand and prepare accordingly – and is also reputed to be a fantastic motivator. Shastri is also highly revered for his tactical acumen. In his playing days he graduated from being a left-arm spinner who batted at no. 10 to someone who opened the batting in all forms of the game and also held his own with the ball. The Benson and Hedges World Series of 1985 is a case in point. This is a testament to his mental strength as well as a burning desire to improve at any cost. These are qualities that the national team would do well to have in abundance.
He had also previously coached India during 2007 when the team had suffered an ignominious exit in the first round of the World Cup held in the Caribbean. The situation then was same as it is now. It seems that every now and then he is the man that the board turns to for a solution when the team is in really choppy waters. The question that arises then is why can’t he be thought of as a long-term option? After all, he has proved that he is capable of taking the team to greater heights.
Role of an observer
Perhaps Shastri himself is not interested in taking on a duty of the national team as he is perhaps well aware of the pitfalls of the job – the gigantic waves of adulation that accompany the crests followed by the abyss like criticism that comes in case of the troughs of failure. He has also indicated the same on a number of occasions. He perhaps also knows that for him a short term period is best because then he can concentrate full-on without worrying too much about the long term. However, for the betterment of the Indian team he could be asked to play the role of an observer from outside and chip in with his inputs in case the team performs below expectation. That way at least he could be allowed to play an integral role for the team without delving too much into it.