Man for all seasons, Ravi Shastri roars back into spotlight
Ravi Shastri, Indian cricket's man for all seasons, has returned to the spotlight by grabbing the much-coveted head coach's job. It may not seem so but it is officially the first time that Shastri has been made the head coach. His first mentoring stint was back in 2007 when he was made the team manager on the tour to Bangladesh in the wake of Greg Chappell's controversial exit.
The 55-year-old was BCCI's go to man also when he was made the team director alongside head coach Duncan Fletcher.
Shastri held on to the post from August 2014 to June 2016.
That was the period when Shastri earned the respect of the current players, especially captain Virat Kohli. He gave players the freedom to "express themselves" and was an expert in pepping up the boys when the chips were down.
So much so that it had many asking why he was removed at the first place if he enjoyed such overriding support from Kohli and his men.
Players praised Shastri's style of functioning at the slightest opportunity, something even a heavyweight like Anil Kumble could not command during his 12-month tenure.
In all probability, things would have gone on smooth between him and the skipper, a chemistry that Kohli and Kumble failed to create, eventually leading to the spin great's acrimonious departure.
One of his biggest admirers is none other than Kohli, who very much wanted Shastri to stay before Kumble pipped him for the post last year.
"He is a guy who does not shy away from responsibility.
He is someone who takes the blows on the chin. He keeps moving forward. We would love to have him on board even if he is doing the same job right now. Just to have him in the group is a massive boost for us," Kohli had said back in June 2015.
Earning back the top job is also a sort of redemption for the former all-rounder, who just one year ago was ignored with the high-profile Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman going ahead with Kumble.
Shastri's axe led to a war of words between him and CAC member Ganguly, who questioned the former's commitment towards the position as he did not appear in person for the interview.
Now he has beaten the likes of Virender Sehwag and Tom Moody to be in the hot seat for two years, most likely till 2019 World Cup, arguably making his third stint with the team the most challenging of his coaching career.
Shastri is known for his relaxed approach but even he is bound to feel pressure, considering he has got the responsibility after such high-drama and two years before the 50-over World Cup in England.