Even more than Anil Kumble’s appointment as coach, the buzz has been about Ravi Shastri missing out on the job and Sourav Ganguly missing out on the interview. While the interview was conducted via Skype as Shastri was on holiday in Thailand, why exactly did Ganguly give the interview a miss?
The reasons for the same have been attributed to everything from the two not being on talking terms to Dada’s upset stomach. Which of course has also been attributed to Dada hearing Shastri’s voice, “Hello boys, Ravi here, all the way from Bangkok, if the massages don’t get you, the breakfast buffets will!”. Still others believe that Ganguly prefers Face Time to Skype and it was a clash of technologies more than a clash of personalities.
What was a brief interview with Shastri waxing eloquent on the massage parlours and pole dancers to the shopping at the Chatuchak weekend market – “you get everything under the sun here, won’t be too farfetched to expect your next Indian coach from here...in fact, boys, I’m at Chatuchak right now”.
At the completion of the interview, Ganguly was briefed by Tendulkar and Laxman, in addition to ex- BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale. Even though Ganguly is a big fan of Thailand as a holiday destination, it appears he was predisposed to Kumble’s selection as coach.
This has now caused a lot of rancour in the ranks. Shastri in his own words is determined to “go down all guns blazing” and expects a “one to one, man-to man, settle it in the middle like men” interview with Ganguly.
Shastri who is close to Test captain, Virat Kohli, is alleged to also enjoy the backing of BCCI President, Anurag Thakur. The Ganguly-Shastri faceoff will be held in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. BCCI is looking to sell the broadcasting rights, with Sony already shortlisted for the same. Sony has further shortlisted Navjot Sidhu, Gaurav Kapur and Rameez Raja. Salman Khan will make a guest appearance to promote his film, Sultan, and draw wrestling parallels with the interview. Sidhu is expected to laugh and clap hysterically every time Salman pauses.
The interview will have three sections, styled on the lines of an IPL match broadcast. In the end, Tendulkar, Laxman, Thakur and Jagdale will vote by way of secret ballot, with the IPL auctioneer, Richard Madley, naming the winner. Ravi Shastri, who is also contracted to the BCCI as a commentator, will conduct the twin roles of introductions and wrap-ups, albeit both in an empty stadium, something he has so far accomplished with élan.
One can expect the Shastri script to be on the lines of, “In the end, the interview is the winner. Tough questions were asked and tough answers were given. All three results are possible. Kumble as coach, Shastri as coach and both Kumble and Shastri as coach. You will ask, how is that even possible? Because in India, anything is possible – a coach and a coach’s mentor can coexist beautifully”To add to the masala and further up the TRPS of the interview, BCCI designated commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar tweeted:
More than Sourav, I think Ravi is miffed with the rejection. It's a new experience for him. BCCI have made the better choice as coach.— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) June 29, 2016
Anil Kumble is yet to comment on the Ganguly-Shastri interview. Before this, he had thanked all and sundry for their wishes, including Azhar.
— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) June 24, 2016
It is believed if Shastri does pass muster, he could be contracted as the man to call the shouts. Whereas Kumble will continue to call the shots from behind the scenes. In the unlikely situation that Ganguly refuses to interview Shastri, one can expect Shastri to interview Ganguly. Because to quote Shastri, “something’s gotta give”.
(However plausible this may sound, this is largely a work of fiction.)
First published here