Sourav Ganguly hoped the reappointment of Ravi Shastri as head coach will help India prevail in “big games” and break the jinx of not winning a major ICC tournament in recent years.
Shastri was recently reappointed for two years by the Kapil Dev-led Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC).
“Ravi has been around for a while, five years he’s completed so he’s got an extension for two more years. Hopefully now India can go all the way in the two upcoming tournaments that are coming up, which is the T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy which has now become a T20 format,” Ganguly said.
“So I hope they do well, they’re doing well, they get to the semi-finals.
“In 2015 in Australia they struggled, in 2017 (2016) in Mumbai, West Indies got the better of them and even in this World Cup. So, hopefully, they will get to the next step and create a winning combination.”
India’s last ICC tournament triumph was the win in the 2013 Champions Trophy.
“Hopefully they can get past the big games and win trophies in the next two years,” said the former captain who if you believe the rumors isn’t best friends with Shastri.
Ganguly urged captain Virat Kohli to continue giving the new players a longer run to prove their mettle.
“This is one area where Virat (Kohli) needs to just be a bit more consistent -- pick players and give them a bit more opportunities consistently -- for them to get that confidence, rhythm.
“I have said that before. You saw how Shreyas Iyer played in that ODI series (against West Indies), you pick him and you give him the freedom to play those matches and I think that needs to happen with a lot of players and I am sure Virat will do that,” added Ganguly.
Ganguly was surprised to see chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and off-spinner Ravinchandran Ashwin being left out of the ongoing first Test against West Indies.
“Yes, I was also surprised to see Kuldeep Yadav left out because the last Test he played against Australia, he got five wickets, if you remember in Sydney on a good flat pitch, he picked up five wickets against Australia.
“But (Ravindra) Jadeja also has been in good form, the surface yesterday at Antigua needed three fast bowlers because we saw the seam movement the fast bowlers got and it was not a question of spin.
“Ashwin’s record is phenomenal to leave him out in the West Indies, so it’s a decision which Kohli has made and we will find out in next couple of days whether how far Jadeja goes on to pick wickets on this surface.”
He praised Indian team’s new batting coach Vikram Rathour for his work at the grassroot level.
Ganguly said he was happy that home-bred support staff were given priority to coaches from abroad by the selection committee.
After former India all-rounder Shastri was reappointed as coach of the team, the MSK Prasad-led selection panel opted for Rathour, Bharat Arun and R Sridhar as the batting, bowling and fielding coaches respectively.
“I am extremely happy that our own home bred coaches are given priority which is good because they have put in a lot of effort. With Indian coaches, communication (with the players) is good, they understand the mindset (of the players). This country has produced some great players,” he said.
“India is the No. 1 cricketing county in the world. I am not saying just in terms of the money they generate, but also that a number of people play the sport, players attached to the game. I am happy that the likes of Ravi (Shastri), Sridhar, Vikram (Rathour), Bharat Arun have got the opportunity to take Indian cricket forward because they got as much ability as anybody else in the world,” Ganguly added.
Asked about Jonty Rhodes not even being included in the shortlist for the job of fielding coach, he said, “They wanted continuity with Sridhar, who I think has done a good job. The Indian fielding is very good. You saw that in the World Cup with Ravindra Jadeja leading the pack.”
Calls for more practical approach on conflict of interest rule
Ganguly called for a more practical approach in implementing the conflict of interest rule and cited as an example Ricky Ponting’s multiple roles with Australian cricket and IPL.
Along with Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, Ganguly has been at the receiving end of conflict of interest notices for being the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president as well as the mentor of IPL franchise Delhi Capitals.
Earlier this month, the former captain expressed his displeasure after Dravid was issued a notice by BCCI’s ethics officer Justice (Retd) DK Jain on conflict of interest allegations against the legend.
Asked whether an exception should be made to the rule for legends of the game, Ganguly responded in the negative.
“I wouldn’t say an exception be made to the rule (but) the rule has to be practical,” Ganguly said.
“Today Rahul Dravid has been appointed NCA head and there are issues over his job with India Cements, you got to be practical on that, you never know whether you would become the NCA head or not, three years later you may not remain NCA head, but these jobs are permanent and jobs remain with you.”
Ganguly said he does not see a cricketer doing coaching and commentary as a case of conflict of interest.
“It’s got to be practically solved - even when you do commentary or coaching - I don’t see it as a conflict of interest. When you go around the world, look at Ricky Ponting, he coaches Australia, he commentates, he is commentating in the Ashes and now in the month of April next year he will be with Delhi Capitals (as a coaching staff).
“I really don’t consider this as conflict of interest; because these are all skill-based, you don’t decide whether you commentate or whether you coach or you are part of a franchise, because of your skill you get picked by people, and I don’t think it can be a conflict, it has to be bit more precise otherwise everything is going to be conflict.”
BCCI has already dismissed reports related to conflict of interest allegations against Vikram Rathour, who will be appointed as the next Indian team batting coach replacing Sanjay Bangar. Rathour is the brother-in-law of junior selection committee head Ashish Kapoor.
Ganguly found the issues related to Kapoor ridiculous.
“There is an issue, I was reading in the newspaper that there is issue of Vikram (Rathour) now with conflict with Ashish Kapoor being a junior selector. I find it ridiculous.
“If somebody else is a junior selector and somebody else is batting coach, how does it influence and how it is conflict?
“So these things need to be a bit clearer and I am a firm believer that skills have to be kept separate because you cannot influence skills, it’s about one’s judgement of who’s better and who is not better,” the graceful left-handed batsman of yesteryear said.
Jain had issued the notice to Dravid on conflict of interest allegations made by Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association member Sanjay Gupta.
According to Gupta, Dravid is allegedly conflicted as he is the National Cricket Academy (NCA) director and vice-president of India Cements Group, which owns Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings.
The same person had filed similar conflict of interest complaints against Laxman and Tendulkar for their roles as Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) members and mentors of IPL franchises Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians respectively.
Tendulkar and Laxman made lengthy depositions before Jain on their case and denied having any conflict while offering to step down from CAC if proved otherwise.
Ganguly, who is the brand ambassador of My11Circle, was speaking at an event here after felicitating the winners of the contest.
Last Monday, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) had called for a meeting to discuss the contentious issue with former and present cricketers.
CoA member Diana Edulji had said that a “white paper” will be prepared detailing the issues.