Harsha Bhogle sack vs Ravi Shastri sack
Indians are so obsessed with worshiping stars and hating authorities that the end objective is often missed out.
Few months ago, social media was up in arms on Harsha Bhogle’s sacking from the World Cup T20 commentary team; ostensibly on reasons that he criticised the Indian team more often than what BCCI would like.
If media reports are to be believed, it seems Indian Cricket team coach Ravi Shastri has been sacked for same reason – primarily for uttering the line “Virat Kohli should be made India’s captain in all formats” four weeks ago. This was taken as a direct criticism of captain MS Dhoni.
Yet neither media nor social media batted for Ravi Shastri with any of enthusiasm they showed for Harsha Bhogle. Reason being, in superstar legendary bowler Anil Kumble, they saw the new Indian team coach and felt too star struck to raise the unfairness.
All mama’s good boys
That India’s famous batting quartet Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly were behind (in different capacities) this appointment, almost the shut the case for Ravi Shastri.
Probably BCCI planned that too – hence all mama’s good boys were assembled to take this decision and hoodwink any scope for questioning.
We tend to easily forget that this famous five are no more players and may have own interests too, collectively or individually. We don’t know. But we forgot to assess the merits of this decision. Having a nice boy image doesn’t necessarily mean we give clean chit everytime.
Social media generated adequate noise backing Rahul Dravid for the role too – without anyone discussing the attributes required to do this role and the candidate’s fittment. If gamut of test runs and successful captaincy was criteria then why not root for Sunny Gavaskar or Dilip Vengsarkar?
Shastri was always our SOS man
Ravi has been BCCIs ‘go to man’ for quite some time. After World Cup 2007 disastrous early exit (and then coach Greg Chappell sacking), Shastri was sent an SOS to manage and stabilise the Indian team. He did it to good effect.
Less than two years ago, after string of embarrassing overseas defeats (worst in decades), coach Duncan Fletcher was sacked. Yet again, Ravi Shastri was sent SOS to leave his lucrative commentary assignments and be team director. The tall allrounder Mumbai obliged.
Despite the team being in rebuilding phase, Shastri’s 22 month stint saw India rise to number one in tests and make it to semifinals of both 50 over and 20 over World Cups, amongst other impressive series and cup wins. Even the 0-2 test series defeat at Australia told a very encouraging story when you see the scorecards. Currently India are amongst the best two teams in every format.
Return of regional politics?
It also seems this sacking was a well planned, behind the scenes assault, orchestrated by a man who had also orchestrated India’s worst coach selection, back in 2004! Yes you got it!
Sourav Ganguly, apparently wanted Shastri out this time; didn’t attend his presentation (which incidentally was video conference and could have been accessed from anywhere) and while the committee was divided, Dadagiri won the day.
Was this move done to protect MS Dhoni’s captaincy, career and string of endorsement deals? Or was it ‘East East Brother Brother’ deal? We don’t know, but something doesn’t seem right.
Media reports suggest most of the senior team members wanted Shastri retained, but alas!
Poor message to new coach
Just as Shastri groomed, built and gave settled teams in all formats; he has been unceremoniously sacked. Does it give the right signal to the incoming candidate? Or to any candidate as matter of fact?
The subtle message Anil ‘Jumbo’ Kumble gets is that – “your vision be dammed; your team’s performance and results is a criteria; but whatever, make sure you utter only the things we want you to utter; else you get sacked too.”
Kumble’s image now faces a real test. Even Kapil Dev entered Indian team coaching amidst fanfare. Only to find his star power infinitely diminished by the time he got the boot.
Let’s hope Kumble doesn’t get the boot soon enough. For a team on the rise, if things go bad, it can undo all the good work of past two years.
Worse, if the boot happens, it will be time to SOS Ravi Shastri again. And this time he may not agree.