Former India all-rounder Reetinder Sodhi opines that it would be “impossible” to axe Ravi Shastri as the head coach if he coaches the side to the title victory in the T20 World Cup later in the year.
Ravi Shastri, who took over the job in 2017 from Anil Kumble and was re-elected in 2019, will see his contract expire at the end of the T20 World Cup in the UAE in October-November. Rahul Dravid, who is in Sri Lanka with the second-string squad as the head coach, is touted to replace Ravi Shastri.
Reetinder Sodhi, however, feels that if the current coach is able to deliver the T20 title, which India haven’t won since 2007, then he would be able to defend his job.
“This is speculative for sure. It will be very harsh to say that Ravi has not performed well. He has done quite well but if the parameter is winning trophies, we have not done that. But if the Indian team wins the T20 World Cup, it will be impossible to remove Ravi Shastri,” Sodhi told India News.
If you ask me, there is pressure on Ravi Shastri: Reetinder Sodhi
The 40-year-old further added that though the team has done a commendable job, especially in Test cricket – two series victories in Australia and finishing as table leaders in the WTC – under Ravi Shastri, he hasn’t been able to deliver a title yet – India were knocked out of the 2019 World Cup semi-final and lost the WTC final, both to New Zealand.
Sodhi points out that the selectors appointed Dravid as the head coach for the Sri Lanka tour, and also denied sending a couple of extra batsmen to England when the management asked for the injured Shubman Gill’s replacement. Sodhi asserts that the board is calling the shots, and perhaps indicating a message to Ravi Shastri with their recent actions.
“He has done a decent job earlier as well and winning the trophy, something we have been waiting for, I think the purpose will be filled. But end of the day, the way Rahul bhai has gone to Sri Lanka as a coach and the board rejected the proposal of two additional batsmen, you get a somewhat different signal. If you ask me, there is pressure on Ravi bhai,” Sodhi believes.