Former India captain Sourav Ganguly’s views on current head coach Ravi Shastri have been made clear in previous interviews but that did not stop the 46-year-old from taking more potshots during an event on Monday.
Addressing an audience at the Symbiosis International (Deemed University) in Pune where he was launching his book A Century is not Enough, co-authored by senior sports writer Gautam Bhattacharya, Ganguly had more comments to make on the current Indian team setup.
Ganguly said that unlike football, cricket is a “captain’s game” and the coach should take a “back seat”. The 46-year-old, one of India’s most successful captains, also said “man management” is one of the key qualities a coach should possess.
“[Cricket] is not like football,” he said. “A lot of current cricket coaches think that they are going to run a cricket team like a football team, but cricket is a captain’s game and coach has to take a backseat and that is important.”
The 113-Test veteran was replying to a question on the role of coaches in cricket. Asked what qualities must a coach have, he replied, “man management”, adding that “hardly [a] few have it”. Asked what is the best advice he had received during his career, Ganguly said, “Never pick a coach.”
Ganguly was the India captain when former Australia cricketer Greg Chappell was appointed head coach of India. Chappell was reportedly Ganguly’s choice but the two had a rather high-profile fallout eventually.
Ganguly was also in the panel that appointed Shastri as head coach last year after Kohli reportedly forced the previous incumbent, Anil Kumble, out. According to several media reports, Kohli wanted Shastri, who had been the team director earlier, as the head coach and was not happy when Kumble was appointed in 2016.
The Indian team has since lost overseas Test series in South Africa and England. A day after the England series ended, Ganguly had lashed out at the Indian team management, Shastri in particular.
On Sunday, when he was asked what question he would pose to Shastri if he is given a chance, Ganguly said, “Who picks up the team, [stand-in captain] Rohit Sharma or Ravi Shastri?”
Ganguly, who also played in the IPL, said he was fortunate enough to lead a team which was full of champions like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh.
Players such as Harbhajan, Zaheer and Yuvraj Singh have said in the past they owed their careers to Ganguly as he backed them as the captain.
There are several talented players in the Indian setup today but they are not sure whether they will play the next game as Kohli and Shastri are infamous for chopping and changing the team. Asked about this phenomenon, Ganguly said, “Virat [Kohli] needs to work little on it. I backed [my players] because I saw them closely, I have seen them how they react to pressure.”
With inputs from PTI