‘Reflect, refresh and reinvent’ – Sanjay Bangar looks ahead to the future
Sanjay Bangar (AFP Photo)

Sanjay Bangar was disappointed after becoming the only member of the India coaching staff to have not retained his job as his stint with the national team as batting coach came to an end after the West Indies tour.

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But he quickly got over it and now reflects fondly on the five years he spent with the team. “Being disappointed is a natural feeling, which lasted for just a few days,” Bangar told The Times of India. “But I thank the BCCI and all the coaches, Duncan (Fletcher), Anil (Kumble) and Ravi (Shastri), for giving me an opportunity to serve Indian cricket for five years.”

The former India allrounder had joined the backroom staff in 2014, just a year after he retired from cricket. Bangar came in as the batting coach and was elevated to the post of assistant coach in 2017, when Shastri made his comeback as head coach.

He also served as interim head coach on the tours of Zimbabwe (in 2016) and the West Indies (in 2017).

During his tenure, India became the top-ranked side in Test cricket and continues to hold onto the spot apart from becoming a dominant force in limited-overs cricket as well. “I look back on the progress the team made since 2014 and being No. 1 in Tests for three years in a row with happiness. We won 30 out of 52 Tests played, 13 of them overseas. We also won consistently in ODIs in all countries. The only thing that eluded us was the World Cup,” he said.

India’s inability to find a suitable candidate for the No. 4 spot in ODI cricket and their subsequent semi-final exit from the ICC World Cup 2019 put Bangar in the spotlight. Ambati Rayudu, Vijay Shankar, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant were all tried at the position but neither succeeded.

“The entire team management and selectors were part of the decision making for the No. 4 spot. The choice relied upon current form, fitness criteria, whether he was a left-hander, whether he could bowl, etc,” he exlained.

So what next for Bangar? “This break gives me time to reflect, refresh and reinvent,” he said.