Sandeep Patil, who spent most of his post-retirement years mentoring and coaching teams, has lashed out at India’s current coach selection process
Sandeep Patil, who spent most of his post-retirement years mentoring and coaching teams, has lashed out at India’s current coach selection process.
Patil (60), who was one of the first to apply for the head coach position despite being the then chairman of national selectors in 2016, indicated that the three-man Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, was not the ideal one to pick India’s next coach.
“I wouldn’t even call it warped. I’d say it’s all wrong,” Patil told mid-day on Tuesday. “Sachin, Sourav and Laxman are absolute legends as players and have done great things for the country, but none of them have coached a team. Do coaches pick umpires and vice-versa,” Patil asked.
‘Why not on Monday?’
The former India batsman found it strange that the coach announcement was not made on Monday itself when the CAC met. Reacting to the official line that Virat Kohli had to be spoken to before the announcement, Patil said: “It’s like passing the buck, and a bit like saying, ‘Look we have identified the next coach and now it’s up to you.’ Is this all done to play safe because of the Lodha Panel recommendations?” Without saying that he should have been on the coach selection panel, Patil emphasised that he had coached emerging teams like Kenya and Oman as well as an established one like India.
Patil was appointed coach after Ajit Wadekar’s exit post the 1996 World Cup. Patil’s stint lasted just six months before he was replaced by S Madan Lal.
Ravi deserved the job
Patil stated that Ravi Shastri should have got the job in the first place last year without any dramas since he had done well during his time as Team Director and the team gelled with him. “Look, I’m not saying this because I did not get picked last year, but the fact is that Anil Kumble’s entry was made at the last moment,” he said.
He called for some tough decisions that would ultimately be good for Indian cricket. “When you are given a job, you must do it fearlessly. It’s not about winning popularity polls. I am proud that as chief selector, my colleagues and I took some very tough and unpopular decisions for which we attracted lot of criticism. But we did something that made Indian cricket better,” said Patil. He felt that Shastri should have adorned the title of Team Director or Team Mentor.
“I have known Ravi for a very long time. He was my room partner during my playing days, he was chairman of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) when I was NCA Director and he was Team Director when I was India’s chief selector, but he’s not exactly a coach. I remember Gautam Gambhir saying last year, ‘Ask Ravi Shastri how many throw-downs he did in the last 18 months.’ The Team Director post would have suited Ravi better,” added Patil.