Kolkata, July 13 (IANS) Former India off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna on Thursday said he is “disappointed” with the three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) — comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman — for dilly-dallying over choosing the national cricket team’s new coach.
On Tuesday, news broke first that Ravi Shastri had been named the India coach but hours later Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Acting Secretary Amitabh Choudhary denied the same.
Later that day, Shastri was officially announced as the coach along with Zaheer Khan as bowling consultant and Rahul Dravid as overseas batting consultant.
Miffed with the actions of the CAC, Prasanna said there was no need of theatrics and the trio could have directly named Shastri, as he was the obvious choice.
“There was no need for such drama. Shastri was always going to be the choice,” Prasanna told IANS over phone.
“I am disappointed with the CAC. They are three legendary cricketers and they should not have taken such a long time to name the coach. A consensus should have been reached, and from what I have been reading, they could not come to a unanimous decision and it was all done at the last minute,” said Prasanna, who was part of the famed spin quartet also involving Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Bishen Singh Bedi.
On Monday, Ganguly had said that they need time to name the coach after interviewing the candidates including Shastri, adding that they would also like to talk to skipper Virat Kohli.
Ganguly had even said Kohli “needs to understand how coaches also operate”.
But the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) later directed the CAC to speed up the process and finalise the issue by Tuesday.
Prasanna, 77, felt that the CAC should have defined the roles of the new additions to the coaching staff more accurately, adding that Shastri is just a team manager and that “coach” is just a name.
“His job will be team management. Coach is just a word. It is just a position in the team. In my opinion, there is no need for a coach,” the former spin great said.
“The CAC should have defined roles of Zaheer and Dravid better. I don’t know whether Sanjay Bangar will still remain the batting coach or not. The job they did, at the end, BCCI could have done the same. Why need a CAC then?”
Prasanna signed off by hinting that the skipper has the right to have a say in selecting the coach as it is he who is accountable for the team’s results.
“The captain is responsible for how the game is played. He is accountable. On the field, he calls the shots so he has some say,” Prasanna said.
Shastri, a veteran of 80 Tests and 150 One-Day Internationals (ODI), had earlier served as the Team Director with the national squad from India’s tour of England in 2014 to the 2016 World T20, where India lost to the eventual champions West Indies.
The 55-year-old was overlooked last year as the CAC went ahead and picked legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble for a one-year term, that ended on a controversial note after the recently-concluded ICC Champions Trophy last month.
Shastri’s first assignment with the team will be the upcoming Sri Lanka tour, featuring three Tests, five ODIs and a one-off T20 International, starting July 26.
Shastri had initially not applied for the top post but when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) extended the deadline for acceptance of applications till July 9, the former all-rounder jumped into the fray and suddenly became the hot favourite, given his cordial relations with Kohli.
Besides Shastri, the CAC had on Monday interviewed four other candidates. these were former India opener Virender Sehwag, former Australian cricketer and former coach of the Sri Lankan cricket team Tom Moody, Richard Pybus — English-born cricket coach, who coached the Pakistan and Bangladesh national teams, and currently serves as the Director of Cricket for the West Indies Cricket Board — and Lalchand Rajput — former Indian cricketer who is the current head coach of the Afghan national team.
Former West Indies coach Phil Simmons wasn’t available for the interview process.