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Ravi Shastri’s appointment as India Team Director welcomed by Sunil Gavaskar

Yogen Shah © Yogen Shah
Yogen Shah © Yogen Shah

New Delhi: Aug 19, 2014

Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar has not only backed under-fire skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni but also gave a thumbs up to Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) new move of appointing Ravi Shastri as the Team Director.

“He has led from the front. He has batted at difficult positions. He has set an example. If his example has not been followed by the rest of the team, I don’t think you can blame the captain. I don’t think there is any alternative to Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the foreseeable future and I would back him to carry on,” Gavaskar told NDTV in a chat.

In a quick reshuffle in the coaching set-up after the team’s 3-1 Test loss against England, the Indian board today relieved bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding consultant Trevor Penney for the one-day series and appointed former Indian all-rounder Sanjay Bangar and ex-India pacer Bharat Arun as assistant coaches under Shastri. Gavaskar is happy with the change.

“I think the fact that they have appointed coaches, assistant coaches, who have a very real interest in Indian cricket as against a commercial interest of maybe somebody else, they will have an impact. Mind you they will not have an immediate bearing. This is not instant coffee. So you just have to be a little more patient,” said Gavaskar.

“But having coaches as I have said, who have real interest, who have sweated on Indian cricket fields will make a huge difference. A huge difference in communication with the players because communication is very important. There are a lot of our players who might not be able to understand some of the language spoken by the non-Indians. So the fact that we have now Indian assistant coaches will make a huge difference,” he added.

Reacting to reports, which mention that coach Duncan Fletcher’s day’s may be numbered in India and the Englishman may lose his job before the West Indies series, Gavaskar said that he has little interest in what the veteran coach may be thinking.

“I would not put myself in Duncan Fletcher’s shoes. I wouldn’t even bother to try and go into his mind what is he thinking because I am just not interested in what he thinks. I was interested in what he does. I had made my views very clear on his coaching abilities a long time ago. And I won’t go further into this,” said Gavaskar.

Gavaskar was once made the consultant of Team India during Sourav Ganguly‘s tenure as captain and John Wright as coach in 2004. Asked to compare the present Shastri call-up to his consultancy stint, Gavaskar said that the two scenario’s are totally different.

“I was a consultant in 2004. I did not want to encroach upon John Wright’s coaching. I stayed away from the team meetings. I did not get into the strategising part. Ravi has got a larger role to play,” explained the legendary batsman.

Gavaskar also made a point on the many critics and fans who will always question the developments in Indian cricket.

“There is nothing that will actually satisfy a cricket lover. Whatever you do the Indian cricket lover will have a question. You appoint Shastri there will be a question. You sack the coaches there will be a question, why before the one-dayers. India does well in ODIs, so why that. Look questions will always be asked. At the end of the day you got to believe that the moves you are making are going to make a long-term impact.

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