After the controversial fall out between Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble led to the latter’s resignation from the post of the head coach of the Indian cricket team, Ravi Shastri was touted to be the frontrunner for the top job amid adequate backing from the Indian captain himself.
But, while Shastri was looked upon as a potential replacement for Kumble, other applicants like Tom Moody and Virender Sehwag, in particular, were expected to give him tough competition. And, as the selection process by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) got into motion, Sehwag had reportedly leapfrogged Shastri in the race for the top job.
However, after a week of chaos and drama that ensued following interviews of the five candidates, the CAC – comprised of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman – surprisingly picked Shastri to call the shots in the Indian dressing room as head coach. So, what really happened to Sehwag? How did he missed the boat?
Sehwag, a fan favourite, had Kohli’s complete backing and would’ve been a frontrunner to grab the role if not for certain conditions. One of the five candidates to apply for the job, Sehwag’s presentation during his personal meeting with the CAC was the third most impressive after Shastri and Moody.
But, according to media reports, the Nawab of Najafgarh had initiated a lot of groundwork with the Indian camp before it eventually boiled down to the personal interview in Mumbai.
“After his stint as mentor of Kings XI Punjab, Viru was growing more confident by the day that he had the potential required to work at a higher level in a similar capacity. It was then that a senior BCCI official asked him to apply (for the role of India coach) if he could make up his mind,” a senior official was quoted as saying by the TOI.
Acting on the advice, Sehwag approached Kohli to get a feel of things. Since both Sehwag and Kohli rose through the ranks in the domestic circuit while playing for Delhi, the duo could’ve turned their familiarity with each other into a professional relationship.
But it was not to be. Sehwag’s proposal to bring along with him a team of support staff including physiotherapist Amit Tyagi and Kings XI Punjab assistant coach Mithun Manhas apparently turned out to be the deal-breaker. Reacting to his conditions, Kohli reportedly told Sehwag that he had reservations as there is a professional set-up in place where the onus is on the CAC to take those calls.
It is here that Shastri managed to become the front-runner, considering he was willing to have a more inclusive approach as far as he, the skipper and the team members were concerned. “The CAC did a fair job in assessing all candidates and came with the best possible decision,” the report quoted a source.
“What went in Shastri’s favour was also the fact that he understood the importance of the work ethic put in place by the existing support staff members who have worked with the team for close to three years,” the source added.
While Shastri will be busy formulating the policies to improve India’s success in international cricket, Sehwag, who came so close to being the head coach, decided to to take a breather and went for a holiday in Canada.
Ever since retiring from the game, Sehwag has kept his association by commentating on a few games. But most of the media attention that comes his way now is garnered through his activity on social media where he has carved a niche for himself with lovely wordplay, trolling others and bringing notice to societal issues.