THE tenure of Ravi Shastri, head coach of the Indian cricket team, is now linked to the performance of Virat Kohli and his men in the upcoming World T20, a top BCCI official told India Ahead on Thursday.
Sources said that if India goes all the way in the tournament, Shastri could continue till the 50-over 2023 World Cup despite having crossed the age cap of 60 years for Indian coaches.
With Shastri showing no signs of giving up on his role as a head coach post-2021 World T20, the board official made it clear that Shastri is yet to speak his mind to the BCCI.
“If Shastri feels that the team and the board need his services, he will continue. As of now, one cannot rule him out of the game,” the official said.
Still, a section within the BCCI is under the impression that Shastri will not continue as a coach, and the name of current batting coach Vikram Rathore has already cropped up for the choice of head coach.
With India not being able to win ICC events in the last eight years, there is tremendous pressure on the captain-coach duo to perform or perish.
Surprisingly, no one has spoken a word on whether Kohli would continue as captain or not if India doesn’t win the World T20 — but the voices for and against Shastri have already gained momentum.
Explaining the possibility, another board official said: “Between the captain and the coach, if one has to go, it’s got to be the coach. That is how the Indian system works. But if India falters again, it would be made clear that the Kohli-Shastri combination will not work.”
Earlier, Shastri was well set to be immortalized as a coach had India won the World Test Championship against New Zealand.
“Since India didn’t win, the BCCI is early waiting to see India winning a world title. The expectations are high because the team under Kohli is perhaps one of the best in recent times in all departments of the game,” the official said.
Regarding the future of bowling coach Bharat Arun (59), under whom the current crop of fast bowlers have scripted such great success, the official said he could get an extension till the 2023 World Cup.
“Keeping in mind three ICC events next year, the BCCI isn’t going to have a knee-jerk reaction. A process would be followed after the contracts of the coaches get over. Those interested and eligible can also apply when the time comes,” the source added.