The Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) on Friday announced that the current Team India head coach Ravi Shastri will remain at his post after conducting interviews of six candidates in Mumbai. Shastri has been reappointed for a two-year period, ending with the 2021 T20 World Cup in India.
The CAC comprising of former India World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev, former batsman Anshuman Gaekwad and women's team captain Shantha Rangaswamy met at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters in Mumbai and the interviews were conducted throughout the day before reaching a conclusion.
The CAC unanimously felt that the incumbent's "communication skills and understanding of team issues" stood out.
Shastri was selected ahead of Mike Hesson, Tom Moody, Lalchand Rajput and Robin Singh, who all were interviewed for the post on Friday. Phil Simmons pulled out from the race before his interview could be conducted.
This will be Shastri's fourth stint with the national team, having served briefly as the Cricket Manager (2007 tour of Bangladesh), Team Director (2014-2016) and head coach (2017-2019).
"We have unanimously decided to appoint Ravi Shastri as the (head) coach of the Indian cricket team as you all were expecting," CAC head Kapil Dev told media persons after the completion of the candidates' interviews that took place through the day.
"Number three was Tom Moody, number two was Mike Hesson. Number one is Ravi Shastri as all of you were expecting... (But) It was a very close race," he added.
The 57-year-old Shastri was first appointed the full-time coach by the then CAC of Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, following the Champions Trophy in 2017. A reported rift between captain Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble led to the latter vacating his post and that allowed Shastri to come into the fray.
Under him, India have made positive strides but failed to win the major trophy -- the World Cup.
Shastri, however, has helped the team come together well and India are currently the No.1 side in Test cricket and second in ODIs. The former all-rounder's CV might not be as trophy-laden when it comes to big tournaments but his achievements are not bad either. During his two-year stint so far, India reached the semi-finals of the World Cup earlier this year, won the Asia Cup and also their maiden Test series victory Down Under last year.
India have won 13 out of 21 Tests, 43 out of 60 ODIs and 25 T20 Internationals out of 36 on his watch.
However, the backing of the current team and captain might have ultimately just played a part in his re-appointment. "With Ravi Bhai, we share a great camaraderie, and will definitely be very happy if he continues. But I haven't been contacted so far," Kohli had said before leaving for the West Indies tour.
The candidates were primarily marked on five aspects -- coaching philosophy, experience, achievements, communication and knowledge of modern tools.
A 'very good' had a 20-mark weightage while good carried 15. The average was 10 and poor was five.
"Everyone of us gave marks and honestly we never discussed which one of us gave how many marks. When we calculated, it was a very close race, I can tell you. I am not going to get into the details as to how much was the difference but it was a very small number (margin)," said Kapil.
In fact, the 1983 World Cup-winning captain said that for him, his former teammate Shastri's "communication skill" was one of the highlights during his presentation.
"I felt his (Shastri) communication skill was better and she (pointing at Shantha) might have felt something else. We were given a marksheet and we filled it up without discussing with each other," he said.
Gaekwad felt that Shastri was "well versed with the Indian cricket system, and knew the boys and their problems well being the current coach."
Shastri's first assignment following the re-appointment will be the home series against South Africa, starting September 15.