Sourav Ganguly says past differences won't affect relations with Ravi Shastri

The BCCI president says performance alone would determine how individuals are judged during his tenure.

Sourav Ganguly: “There will be talks, leaks, rumours, but concentration should be on what happens in the 22 yards.”   -  AP

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Friday rubbished allegations that he would be vindictive towards chief coach Ravi Shastri, saying performance alone would determine how individuals are judged during his tenure.

Shastri and Ganguly had a public fallout in 2016 when Shastri reapplied for the role of the head coach and Ganguly was part of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC eventually selected Anil Kumble for the position.

In 2017, Shastri got back the job after Kumble resigned following his difference of opinion with captain Virat Kohli. During the India Today Conclave (East) on Friday, Ganguly was asked about the possibility that he had an axe to grind with Shastri because of past differences. “That’s why these are called speculations. I don’t have an answer to these questions,” said Ganguly.

For Ganguly, the judgement of an individual boils down to performance on the field. “You perform and you continue; [if] you don’t, someone else takes over. That was also the case when I played,” he asserted.

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“There will be talks, leaks, rumours, but concentration should be on what happens in the 22 yards,” he said.

He then cited the examples of Virat Kohli and of Sachin Tendulkar to make his point. “Life is about performance and nothing can substitute that,” he said.

‘Fantastic role model’

Ganguly repeated what he had stated during his first press interaction after taking over: “Kohli remains the most important man in Indian cricket as he leads the team on the field.”

“Virat is a fantastic role model as to how he conducts himself on and off the field. He will get all the support required to succeed. Virat, Ravi everyone will get everything required. But at the end of the day, we will demand performance,” he said.

Giants: Ganguly cited the examples of Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli to make his point. Photo: Vivek Bendre

 

After the 2011 World Cup triumph, the Indian team faltered at the semifinal and final hurdles of most ICC tournaments. Ganguly felt it was a mental barrier. “It’s not an ability issue but mind issue. They need to cross the mental barrier in big games,” he said.

Talking about the 2020 World T20, the former captain had one piece of advice for the team: “T20 is about playing fearless cricket with freedom. Don’t walk out there in the middle, playing for your place in the team,” he said.

‘It’s got to be practical’

Ganguly has made a smooth transition from a player to an administrator. He also battled conflict of interest charge for his multiple commitments. Ganguly revealed why the clause had been an impediment. “I am unable to get ex-cricketers on board because of conflict of interest. [We need to deal with] conflict of interest with a lot of common sense. Someone like Sachin had to leave. It’s got to be practical. Conflict of interest should apply only to administrators and cricketers should be left out of it,” he said.

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Home Minister Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah is the BCCI secretary and Ganguly wanted his colleague to be judged independently. “Jay Shah has won an election. He should be judged independently. He is adjustable. His father is a politician but we should judge him personally,” Ganguly said.

Ganguly made it clear that there had been no political interference in the BCCI matters but conceded that “influential people will be involved in the running of the game.”

“Late Arun Jaitley ji was obsessed with the game but never held a post in BCCI. But he is held in high esteem in Delhi cricket,” he recollected.

Talking about the allegations of misuse of power within the DDCA, he said: “Despite all that we hear, the current Indian team has Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma, Rishabh Pant. I don’t know what happens but they keep producing world-class players. The State associations are independent and have their own elected body. Running an association is not easy. Very strong personality is needed,” he said.

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