BANGALURU (TIP): Cricket Association of Bengal chief and former India captain Sourav Ganguly and former chief justice of India RM Lodha played a big role in the appointment of Anil Kumble as Team India coach replacing incumbent Ravi Shastri on June 23.
While Ganguly, who had one year ago lost to Shastri in his own quest to become the coach, spared no effort to ensure that the latter did not get a second term, Justice Lodha, who, as the head of Supreme Court appointed committee, has recommended sweeping reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), played an indirect role in Kumble’s ascension.
Justice Lodha, among his many antidotes for the ills besetting the cricket board had recommended setting up of a players’ association and suggested that Kumble be made its member. The BCCI by appointing Kumble India coach hit two targets with one stone – it killed the possibility of him becoming a member of the players’ body and also asserted its independence in taking decisions.
Shastri would have in all likelihood won a second term had it not been for Ganguly’s relentless campaigning for Kumble. In fact, Shastri deserved an extension after having turned the Men in Blue world beaters in the 18 months he was the coach. India, under his stewardship, became the world’s No. 1 Test team, bagged the no. 2 slot in ODIs, and T20s. He also took India to the semi-final stage of the World Cup and the World Twenty20. Asia Cup title, series win against South Africa at home and a rare away series win against Sri Lanka were some of his other achievements. But what he could never win was Dada’s confidence.
Ganguly and Shastri were never the best of buddies. When the latter bagged the coaching job in 2015 despite Ganguly wanting it for himself, the gulf widened. Ganguly was not even present when Shastri made his presentation to the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) two days back. This despite the venue of the CAC deliberations being shifted from Mumbai to Kolkata on his insistence.
When Shastri was hooked via video link from Bangkok, where he is currently holidaying, Ganguly was conspicuous by his absence in the Taj Bengal conference room. The BCCI members say it was because Ganguly had to attend his book release function elsewhere in the city. The former team director was interviewed by Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, and Sanjay Jagdale, the other three members of the CAC.