Ravi Shastri nearly lost India head coach job to Mike Hesson

Ravi Shastri nearly lost India head coach job to Mike Hesson

Shastri's new contract, meanwhile, will end after the T20 World Cup in 2021.

Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri. (Photo by Satyabrata Tripathy/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Not many would have bet against Ravi Shastri losing the Team India coach post. While the Cricket Advisory Committee insisted that it would not ask for Virat Kohli’s inputs before naming the new coach, Shastri’s appointment was always on the cards. Before Team India’s departure to West Indies, captain Virat Kohli had publicly thrown his support behind Shastri.

Kohli’s statement was bound to make some difference if not much in the coach selection. Ravi Shastri was eventually named the coach. Shastri pipped four other candidates to retain his job. The other four candidates who were interviewed were Mike Hesson, Tom Moody, Lalchand Rajput and Robin Singh. Well, if reports are to be believed, Shastri nearly lost the race to become India coach.

According to Hindustan Times, Hesson had almost toppled Shastri. A senior Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) functionary said that it was a close competition between Shastri and Hesson before the former won it. Hesson’s remarkable track record with New Zealand from 2012 till 2018 had almost sealed the deal for him.

“It was not a walk in the park for Shastri as some of you seem to believe. Hesson was really close to getting the go-ahead. It is there for all to see how the New Zealand team improved by leaps and bounds under him across all formats.

“From being the perennial surprise package in big-ticket events, they had become a champion side under him and that is something that really impressed the CAC.

“Under his coaching, the Kiwis reached their first-ever World Cup final in 2015. While he did resign in 2018, the Kiwis playing their second final on the trot in 2019 also had a lot to do with what Hesson brought to the table. His strategizing with the senior members in the team can’t be discounted,” the functionary said.

Under Hesson, New Zealand made the World Cup final against Australia in 2015. Overall, New Zealand won 21 of their 53 Tests, won 65 of their 119 ODIs  and won 30 of their 59 T20Is.

Reason behind selecting Shastri

The BCCI official further revealed the reason behind selecting Ravi Shastri. The official said that it was Shastri’s experience as a player on the international stage that made the difference.

“The CAC felt that Shastri’s proven record as a player was one area that needed to be give due recognition as one’s own stature might become an area of concern when handling a team which has big names.

“Hesson hadn’t played enough cricket himself and as we know started coaching in his early twenties. Shastri on the other hand played 80 Test matches and 150 ODIs. That is something that went against the Kiwi,” the functionary said.

Shastri’s new contract, meanwhile, will end after the T20 World Cup in 2021.

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