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Patil vs Shastri: Long-time Friends Face-Off For India Coach’s Job

From former team-mates to the two front-runners for the India’s coaches job. Who’s more likely to get it?

Updated
Sports
3 min read
Ravi Shastri and Sandeep Patil are now fast becoming the two front-runners for India’s coach’s job. (Photo: PTI)

In their playing days, Ravi Shastri and Sandeep Patil were thick as thieves. They were the dashing young men who loved to live the life and hang out together. In an India still not open to the world, Shastri and Patil were the flamboyant young faces.

Now almost three decades on, the one-time close friends are competing against each other for the same role-Head Coach, Indian Cricket team!

Sandeep Patil attends the press conference after selecting the Indian team for the World T20 and Asia Cup. (Photo: ANI)
Sandeep Patil attends the press conference after selecting the Indian team for the World T20 and Asia Cup. (Photo: ANI)

Experienced Hand

Patil has more experience coaching sides since late 1980s when he turned into some sort of player cum mentor for Madhya Pradesh. He then slipped into the role of India under-19 and India A coach at a time when a young VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly et al were trying to make a mark in 1995-96. He then coached India, but that was when Mohammed Azharuddin was still captain and Dravid & Co were yet to make their Test debut in 1996! He has also coached Kenya to the 2003 World Cup semi-final and Oman as well, apart from being director of the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

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Just Too Soon

But after four years of being the chairman of selectors and overseeing the transition of India’s cricket landscape, Patil wants to be the coach, again. There needs to be a cooling off period between two roles and ideally Patil should not take up the role so soon.

More importantly, the game of cricket has moved on immensely from the time he last coached India!

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 (Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

His Master’s Voice

On the other hand, Shastri has moved from being on coach selection panels in 2005 and 2007 to being a contender for the post. He is seen as this over the top motivator who likes to talk up things and build morale. While he was regarded as the best man to have never led India, as Team Director not much was known about his strategic inputs, but technically he was very sound. With an aggressive Virat Kohli expected to take complete charge in the next couple of years, Indian cricket ideally needs a personality who is a contrarian rather than Shastriesque. Obviously Shastri has lots of experience as a player and broadcaster, but won’t his opinion on the next ODI/T20I captain strain his relation with the incumbent, MS Dhoni?

Then there is also the issue of Shastri’s annual commentary sojourn during the IPL, will that get a break as well?

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File photo of Rahul Dravid. (Photo: Reuters)
File photo of Rahul Dravid. (Photo: Reuters)

Other Contenders

With the influx of a number of T20 leagues most sought after coaches are preferring to ply their trade there. Hence there is a big drought of candidates.

The BCCI preferred candidate Rahul Dravid may not take up the role owing to family commitments. Similar issue dogs Kohli’s preferred candidate, Daniel Vettori. Together Vettori and Kohli are an ideal combination because they are different personalities. But Vettori too has a young family.  Most other candidates whether it is current selector Vikram Rathour, former bowler Venkatesh Prasad are not that sought after.

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Patil vs Shastri?

While there may be quite few other applicants, it may well boil down to Patil vs Shastri in the end, as the other candidates may have either not applied or may not meet the criteria.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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