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Ravi Shastri wants to leave a lasting legacy as coach

The reappointed Team India head coach Ravi Shastri says his primary endeavour will be facilitating a smooth transition by the time he leaves the scene. There will also be room for experimentation, he said, as the side looks to leave a lasting legacy. Shastri, 57, selected for the post for a second term. As per BCCI’s constitution, the national team’s head coach has to be below 60 years, the age Shastri will be approaching by the time his current tenure ends. The 2023 World Cup is still a long way and winning the 2021 World T20 is the realistic goal for the team. “Next two years is to see that smooth transition happens because you will get a lot of youngsters coming, especially into the white-ball setup. There will be youngsters coming into the Test match setup as well,” Shastri said. “You will need to identify another three-four bowlers to add to the pool, those are the challenges. At the end of our tenure, in 26 months, my endeavour would be to leave the team in a happier place. So that they can leave a legacy for the time to come,” the former India allrounder added. “I have the belief that this team could leave a legacy very few teams have left behind in years to come, not just for the moment they are playing but at the end of it all... the kind of legacy other teams going down decades will want to try and emulate” he said.

Talking about paying attention to detail, he said “That is the desire, we are on track. There is always room for improvement. And with youth coming in through the ranks, I think it’s very exciting time. When you strive for excellence and you strive to raise the bar day in, day out, then you got to pay attention to that detail. When you do mess up, you have an off day, don’t let that day go by, in fact, make sure that you are focusing and concentrating on how you can get over that barrier.”

Among all the candidates, Shastri’s record was unmatched as the team reached the No. 1 ranking in Test matches under his guidance and won a series in Australia for the first time in 71 years, besides decent success in the limited overs format. “It’s been superbly consistent if you look at the performance over the last two-three years. But like I said that is the bar they have set and now it’s up to them to raise the bar,” Shastri assessed the team’s performance in the last two years. Shastri stressed on the improvements the current setup has made in fielding “There is no other way, they have to. Unless you make those efforts, even at the cost of certain results, you will not know what your best setup is. On thing that is most important is that over the last four-five years, the biggest improvement is fielding, and the endeavour is to make this the best fielding side in the world.” He thanked the three-member committee led by Kapil Dev along with Shanta Rangaswamy and Anshuman Gaekwad for showing faith in him for another term.

Meanwhile, former India batsman and selector Vikram Rathour is all set to replace Sanjay Bangar as the new batting coach, with only formalities left to be completed. However, Bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar will retain their positions for another two years. India's selection panel, led by MSK Prasad, shortlisted three candidates each for all the support staff positions with Rathour, Arun and Sridhar leading their respective lists in "order of priority" as "unanimous" choices and will be officially appointed after formalities, barring any conflict-of-interest possibilities. The two other candidates shortlisted in each category were Bangar and former England batsman Mark Ramprakash for batting coach, Paras Mhambrey and Venkatesh Prasad for bowling coach, and Abhay Sharma and T Dilip for fielding coach. These names, barring Ramprakash, will work with the A teams, and at times at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. The support staff will be appointed for a period of two years, starting with the home series against South Africa in September and lasting till the T20 World Cup in 2021.

Prasad did not give a specific reason why only Bangar was being replaced in the support staff . "In the last five years, there is definitely some amount of improvement. Looking ahead, with the Test Championship coming up and two T20 World Cups, we thought that there should be freshness in the department," Prasad explained. "That's the reason why we went ahead with Vikram Rathour as first choice. "He was the director of HPCA (Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association), he was also the coach of Punjab Cricket Association, he was also an assistant coach with Kings XI Punjab, so he's got enough experience behind him. Apart from that, he has been doing a lot of assignments with the National Cricket Academy, so we are convinced with his skill-sets and we thought that he'd be our first preference."

A total of 14 candidates were interviewed for batting coach, 12 for bowling coach, nine for fielding coach, 16 for physiotherapist, 12 for strength and conditioning coach, and 24 for administrative manager. All the interviews for the above positions took place in Mumbai. When asked, Prasad said that the team management and two Cricket Advisory Committee members - Kapil Dev and Anshuman Gaekwad - were also asked of their views for the support staff positions but the selection committee took all decisions on its own "in a fair manner". Prasad, however, suggested that going ahead, officially involving the CAC chairman could be helpful in picking the support staff. "The CAC chairman will definitely add value because they've conducted the interview for the head coach so there will be continuity and consistency."

Prasad, Sarandeep Singh, Gagan Khoda and Jatin Paranjape were present in person, while Devang Gandhi attended via video conference from the West Indies while conducting the interviews. The candidates shortlisted for the post of physiotherapist were Nitin Patel, Andrew Leipus and Vaibhav Daga, and the three finalised for the post of administrative manager were Girish Dongre, Venkatesh Rajagopalan and Anand Yalvigi. The selection panel also decided to call the following candidates for a second round of interviews for the post of strength and conditioning coach: Luke Woodhouse, Grant Luden, Rajnikanth Sivagnanam, Nick Webb and Anand Date.

The contracts of head coach Ravi Shastri and the entire support staff had expired after the World Cup before they got a temporary extension for the ongoing tour of the West Indies and the USA. Shastri was then given a two-year extension earlier this month by the CAC and the selection panel was tasked with appointing the support staff.

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