Shastri is the coach ... err, no he is the manager
In one aspect, I have always disagreed with many "experts" on TV. My take is - the players play because they get a lot of money to. They aren't really doing it for the country ... they do it for the greens (I don't mean vegetables). Nothing wrong in it but the rest of the country (and the experts in general) insists on calling it a service to the country.
My take is - u need to kick the player's ass every now and then to make them perform. It doesn't matter whether it is a big player or a small player; once u drop him from the team for a series or two, he will come back a better player if he is good enough; he will fade enough if indeed he is not good enough. Dropping a player fromm the team is not an "insult" to him. it is not his bloody birthright to be in that team. Ganguly and Zaheer are examples of guys whose ass got kicked out of the team ... and made them realize how much they want to be in the team. Enough to actually concentrate on their cricket and try hard. Zaheer Khan's butt size has now reduced to similar lines of when he came into the team initially. Just before he was kicked out, he was beginning to resemble Jennifer Lopez in terms of butt size. It wouldn't have happened if he hadn't been kicked out. Similarly with Ganguly who is not the Ganguly today who was the world's best ODI batsman some years back ... but also not the Ganguly who was a "bhoj" on the team when he got kicked out. Today he is focussed on his cricket and though his brilliant years seem to be behind him, seeinng him in the 11 doesn't seem ma cruel joke now. Again, it took a swift kick on his pants to achieve this focus.
Greg Chappell failed coz he tried to kick player's asses. An Indian might try and fail (99% woulf fail) but a foreigner wuld definitely fail because of our jingoistic attitude. Reverse of "white skin fascination" takes place in strong, independent India and we try to take every point the white skinned guy gives and say - "what crap" - even if it makes sense. Damn, we can't have the white man teaching us sommething ... even if we don't know it ourselves.
Ok, now to the silver lining. Of all the jokers who could have becomome the cricket coach (now they call it manager ... lol), the job goes to Ravi Shastri ... and frankly, of all the choices, the Chuckster likes this one the best. The Madan Lals and Gaekwads and Mohinder Amarnaths could have become the coach ... no one would have respected them and they would have kissed player's asses because that would let them keep their jobs. How much do the Amarnaths and the Madan Lals and the Gaekwads earn today .... whatever it might be, it would be peanuts compared to the coach's salary. So obviously, their benefit is in actually holding onto the seat with both hands wrapped tight around it. Indian cricket would never improve because the "nikkame", lazy players would continue to play their cricket the way they want to .... with maximum returns (in terms of contractd and endorsements) and minimum effort.
Ravi Shastri is a different kettle of fish altogether. The man has a flourishing career inn the media ... yes,, the coach's job might still pay more than what he makes but not so much that he has to swallow his pride to keep it. Hey, if he is not the coach, he can still go back to that great job with ESPN and SONY and everyone else (one thing i always admired about Shastri ... his acumen in associating himself with all channels ... unlike say a Gavaskar who is totally a ESPN / STAR man). Ravi Shastri iis also supposed to be (I could be wrong but this is the impression I have) a man who calls a spade a spade and who doesn't stand too much nonsense.
The players might finnd that themselves facing the same problems as they had under Chappell ... they can't continue being lazy and indifferent without getting hauled up ... coz if Shastri takes up the job, it is also a reputation thing for him .... Kapil Dev might still have 432 wickets but his name will also be always associated with being one of the failures in the Indian cricket coach's job. Shastri might also join that long list ... and for a man who is highly successful in the media, I am sure he will try his damndest to get the same success in the new job. The players performance affects Shastri directly coz unnless they care, his record suffers. So he is definnitely gonna be expecting a lot from the players .... maybe more than they might be willing to offer in terms of effort and commitment.
The good part is - no one can now claim about the big, bad foreiner runing Indian cricket .... even if the crickters complainn again, it is an Indian guy who is doing the ass kicking now ... and if the same players fall foul of the Indian coach,the world will know the foreigner wasn't so incorrect after all.
There was a lot of bakwaas in the BCCI meeting ... about improvinng domestic cricket and making players play domestic cricket and setting up zonnal academimes etc etc etc (u must have read the samme articles i did). My dog could have given the same suggestions only he knows he can spend his time better in digging for his bones.
But the thing I liked is - the new coach is Indian ... and his attitude might just be very similar to the foreigner's inn terms of how much crap he tolerates.
Of course, Shastri's appointment is only till the Bangladesh series ... and that is stupid coz u really cannnot judge anything after a series against Bangladesh. But then, we have to be glad for small mercies.
Mr. Ravi Shastri, for putting ur hand up when u didn't really have to (a la one Mr. Gavaskar), kudos. Only, Bangladesh is not really the series which will give any answers .... we can send me as the coach and still beat Bangladesh .... the rest of the cricket season after the Bangladesh would be pretty busy when we will play the bigger boys of international cricket. I hope u stick around till then. Somehow, I feel u will .... coz u didn't have to do it now if u didn't want to do it then.
Heh heh ... the Sehwags and Zaheers and Bhajjis might not be feeling that victorious right now.