One of India’s most successful pace bowlers and a key member of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad, Zaheer Khan, in an exclusive interview with Republic World has shared his views on the selection of head coach for India. Without delving deep into the nitty-gritties, but addressing a key aspect of the debate, he has said there is no harm in asking the players for their take as the coach will be spending time with them through his tenure. However, the players are not the decision-makers and that call lies with the relevant authority, he put forth.
“It’s a good kind of practice if you ask the team members just opinion as they are not the decision-makers, the decision-makers should be taking the decision but a coach is someone who will be playing or spending the time with the players through and through. So, there is no harm in asking. And why only players, you can ask the experts too and that due diligence needs to happen. as practice why stop at that, you should have appraisals too or some kind of a review system as well in a six month or a year to see where things stand ”, Zaheer Khan said.
Zaheer's opinion was logically similar to what the Kapil Dev-led committee had said while announcing the retention of Shastri as Team India coach wherein they had revealed that Virat Kohli had not been consulted, and had they done so, they would have asked the whole team. However, unlike what Zaheer Khan has proposed, they didn't, in fact, do so.
A lot has been said about Virat Kohli endorsing Ravi Shastri for continuing as the coach of the Indian cricket team and Anil Kumble’s discontinuation as the coach was also due to the alleged difference-of-opinion clashes between Kumble and the captain. Ravi Shastri had been Team India director from 2014 to 2016, he was appointed the head coach after Anil Kumble's resignation following the 2017 Champions Trophy when India lost to Pakistan in the final.
Under Shastri’s tenure, India had recorded their first-ever Test series win in Australia in 2019 after having lost on tours to South Africa and England in 2018. The Men in Blue also registered their first-ever bilateral ODI series win in South Africa last year. Team India was also one of the favourites in World Cup 2019 and rightly so as their performance was highly commendable until they came up just short in a thriller against New Zealand in the semi-finals. Ravi Shastri’s tenure as the coach of the Indian Cricket team has been extended till T20 World Cup 2020 which is to be conducted in Australia.