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Shastri at e-Adda: Heard Virat on captaincy, now Ganguly needs to speak


INDIA’S LIMITED-OVERS captaincy change could have been handled better “with good communication”, and now that Virat Kohli has given his side of the story, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has to present his version, former India head coach Ravi Shastri said on Thursday.

Speaking at The Indian Express eAdda, Shastri said: “I have been part of this system for many years, I was part of this team for the past seven years. With good communication, this can be handled much, much better, instead of it being out in the public domain. Virat has given his side of the story, it needs the president of the board to come and give his side of the story, or give some clarification on whatever has happened. That is all.”

According to Shastri, it is not about whether Kohli or Ganguly was lying. “The question is, what is the truth. You want to know the truth and that can only come with dialogue and communication. Nothing else,” he said.

“One person is going to sit on one side and say something. Other person is going to sit on the other side and say something. There has to be some clarity and you need dialogue from both sides, not one side,” he said.

Days after Ganguly had said that he personally told Kohli not to give up the T20I captaincy, Kohli told reporters that there had been no communication from the board once he had decided to relinquish leadership in the shortest format in September.

Regarding the ODI captaincy, Kohli had said he was informed that the selectors were removing him only 90 minutes before the meeting to pick the Test squad for the South Africa tour this month.

According to Shastri, it would not be right to form an opinion on the issue until it is known what “actually happened” between Kohli and Ganguly.

“You got to know the sequence of events, what actually happened. We are not privy to it. What the actual communication was, what was asked, what was not asked, what context was it asked in, and what was the answer given. These are the things that we do not know,” Shastri said.

“So to jump into the subject of what is happening there, I think, would not be right, till you know what has transpired between both parties, what was the actual conversation, what was the subject, where did it start from and what was the end. Once you get to know all that, then you can join the dots and see what is the right thing to do,” he said.

There has even been some acrimony between Ganguly and Shastri previously — especially when Anil Kumble was chosen as India coach in 2016 ahead of Shastri by a committee that included Ganguly.

However, Shastri said that while he and Ganguly can have differences of opinion, there was “zero residue” about the past. “I just see events that happen at that moment of time, and you react to those events in whichever possible way. I have got every right to react and he has got every right to react,” he said.

“That aside, let us not forget we are both cricketers. We know the game. As much as I know the game, he knows the game, so let’s respect that. So if there are certain instances, just because you have both played the game, you both feel you know the game, does not mean that you agree or disagree on everything,” he said.

“You are entitled to your viewpoint. You are entitled to the stance you want to take. But residue… nothing. I don’t think I have any residue,” he said.

Speaking about the India captaincy, Shastri said that once Kohli had decided he did not want to continue as T20I skipper, there could have been only one leader for the two white-ball formats. “You should have one captain for white-ball cricket. Rohit Sharma is the T20 captain, so he should be the white-ball captain as well,” Shastri said.

While naming K L Rahul and Shreyas Iyer as white-ball leaders for the future, Shastri stressed that Kohli should continue to be Test captain.

Responding to a question, he said: “Virat, without a shadow of doubt. Look at what he has done. He has been an ambassador for Test cricket like no one else. If you go by results, who is close to him? I don’t see any captain in the world today who leads with that kind of passion. That is there for everyone to see.

“The fact that you are the top team in the world for the last five years, and you are even thinking of looking elsewhere, I mean we are greedy guys, man.”

At the e-Adda, Shastri was in conversation with Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express Group, and Deputy Associate Editor Sriram Veera.





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