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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

BCCI ropes in Ravi Shastri at helm; Bharat Arun and Sridhar to assist !

In his debut, he opened the attack,  came running in – the first ball was not delivered at all – as he slipped and fell – the career so begun did not go to great heights....

The strings of defeat and the manner of surrender have shaken people at last ........ incomes Ravi Shastri as director, is that a temporary measure or sign of deeper things to come, only time can tell. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher remain in place, some deputies have been sacked. The Coach knows the English conditions and the team so well –  did precious little, yet has survived – the debate on foreign coaches (remember Greg Chappel) would rage on ! – Indian fans feel their modesty outraged as Indians meekly caved within 3 days and within 30 overs ... a TOI stats revealed that India has scored more in last 5 T20 innings than in last 5 test innings.  Dhoni did bat well, but his performance as Captain deserves harsh scrutiny.  S. Venkatraghavan, Bishan Bedi, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly – all lost their captaincy after Series losses !! – now India is struggling to survive 5 sessions, leave alone 5 days of the test.

Bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding mentor Trevor Penney (Indians dropped so many catches this series !)  have been given a "break" for the ODI series, with Sanjay Bangar and Bharat Arun made assistant coaches and R Sridhar named as fielding coach.  BCCI states that the changes are for the next 5 matches – but for preparing defence of World Cup title in Feb next year, more harsh measures will have to follow.

Ravi Shastri captained only once and won in style against WI at Chepauk – that was the time when Narendra Hirwani (spectacular debut of 16 wickets), WV Raman, Ajay Sharma debuted..... he has the enviable feat of batting on all 5 days in a Test (others in the list are : Kim Hughes, Geoff Boycott, Allan Lamb and MV Jaisimha). This is not the first time the BCCI is turning to Shastri during a crisis - he was named the Indian team's cricket manager after an embarrassing first-round exit from the 2007 World Cup.

Sanjay Bangar has been a wonderful person;    a very gritty player, he played 12 Tests and 15 ODIs between 2001 and 2004. Besides playing a crucial role in securing Railways' maiden Ranji title in 2001-02, and then repeating the feat in 2004-05, Bangar was instrumental in converting the team from also-rans to serious title contenders in the domestic circuit. Bangar took Kings XI Punjab to great heights this season bringing the best  out of uncapped Indian players. Kings XI fell short of claiming their first IPL title when they lost a high-scoring final in the last over to Kolkata Knight Riders in Bangalore. Sridhar, began his coaching career in 2001, and  has been part of the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and was the India Under-19's assistant coach during the World Cup in February in the UAE. He has also worked with Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2014 as the franchise's fielding coach.

Bharat Arun, who slipped and fell in his first International delivery stride,  has overseen India's two previous Under-19s campaigns, including Unmukt Chand's title-winning side in 2012.  Arun played in 2 tests and 4 One dayers for India.  He debuted in Dec 1986 against Sri Lanka, which Lankans won by a huge 117 margin.   Arun had figures of 8-0-43-1. Indians were bowled out for a paltry 78 with Arjuna Ranatunga taking 4/14. The debut Test at Kanpur again was mundane.  Lankans made 420- Arun had figures of 76/3.          At 50 Srikkanth got out making 42; Sunil Gavaskar made 176; Azhar 199; Kapil Dev 163 as India amassed 676 for 7. Raman Lamba and Greame Labrooy also made their debut

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th Aug 2014.

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