Edged and taken, Shastri it is!
STRONG BOND: India coach Ravi Shastri (right) has formed a good partnership with skipper Virat Kohli. - AFP file
Dubai - CAC re-appoints him as India coach until the ICC 2021 T20 World Cup
The 'suspense' has come to an end and we now finally know who is India's next cricket coach. But sorry, no prizes for guessing it right as you, you, you, 1.2 billion of you lot, knew the answer to that already.
Yes, it's that same bloke, Ravi Shastri.
Well, we always knew that when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) advertised for the post just after the World Cup in July.
It was perhaps Indian cricket's worst-kept secret in recent times and it came as absolutely no surprise that the Mumbaikar will get another extended run.
The Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) that was formed to pick the new coach, 'revealed' in India's financial capital Mumbai on Friday evening that it was a close race between Shastri, former New Zealand coach Mike Hasson, (apologies, I mean Hesson) and former Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody.
The panel consisting of former India captain Kapil Dev, former India coach Anshuman Gaekwad and former India women's captain Shanta Rangaswamy, also said that Mumbaikar's term will be extended until the ICC 2021 T20 World Cup, which has replaced the ICC Champions Trophy.
There were five candidates in all, including the aforementioned trio, the other two being former India fielding coach Robin Singh and former India team manager Lalchand Rajput.
The CAC went to great lengths to make it look like the popular Indian TV show 'Kaun Banega Crorepati,' based on the lines of the 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?' Except that a million dollars wasn't on offer.
The answer was a given right from day one itself when Indian captain Virat Kohli voiced his opinion by backing Shastri.
And while Gaekwad reportedly said then that the Indian captain's view will have no influence on the CAC, he also added in the same breath that Shastri's work makes him a frontrunner.
The CAC had also reportedly said that Shastri looks a virtual shoe-in since no big names have applied. So, the current appointment perhaps just goes to show that all of this was a sham.
One feels sorry for the likes of Hesson and Moody, not to mention, Robin and Rajput. Why have a process when you deep down already know and have decided Shastri will continue?
Moments after the news broke of Shastri's re-appointment, the decision was trolled on social media platform.
Popular cricket website ESPNcricinfo ran a poll asking 'Should Ravi Shastri continue as Team India's head coach? And the verdict was that an overwhelming 79 per cent said 'No.'
The people had spoken.
The website ran another poll asking 'If Shastri does not continue, who do you think should replace him? There were the other four options with Moody getting the big vote at 59 per cent, Hesson 20 per cent, Robin 15 per cent and Rajput seven per cent.
Perhaps, the CAC didn't want to rock the boat and went with the safer option.
Having said that, Shastri's work is decent and the numbers speak well for him across formats. Out of 21 Tests, he has won 11, lost seven and drawn three.
In 63 ODIs, Shastri has won 45, lost 15, tied two, with one being a no result. And in 37 T20Is, he has 25 victories, 11 defeats and one no result.
It is the big ones - the World Cups, where he has failed.
And that is what he and his skipper need to address immediately because they might perhaps be living on borrowed time.