Team Management & Selectors Were Part of Decision on No. 4: Sanjay Bangar

Cricketnext Staff

Outgoing India batting coach Sanjay Bangar admitted to being disappointed by BCCI's decision, but said he looked back on his five-year stint with happiness.

Speaking to Times of India, Bangar pointed to India's progress across formats in his tenure and said the only thing they couldn't achieve was the World Cup.

“I look back on the progress the team made since 2014 and being No. 1 in Tests for three years in a row with happiness. We won 30 out of 52 Tests played, 13 of them overseas. We also won consistently in ODIs in all countries. The only thing that eluded us was the World Cup,” he said.

"Being disappointed is a natural feeling, which lasted for just a few days. But I thank the BCCI and all the coaches, Duncan (Fletcher), Anil (Kumble) and Ravi (Shastri), for giving me an opportunity to serve Indian cricket for five years. This break gives me time to reflect, refresh and reinvent."

Bangar, who has been replaced by Vikram Rathour, paid the price for India not finding a suitable No. 4 batsman in ODIs, particularly the World Cup.

"The entire team management and selectors were part of the decision making for the No. 4 spot. The choice relied upon current form, fitness criteria, whether he was a left-hander, whether he could bowl, etc,” he insisted.

Talking about his coaching philosophies, Bangar said he focused on technique. He elaborated on his work with the likes of Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma.

"Technique should look after you when you make a mistake," he said. "I was vigilant as to how a player stays close to these basic foundations and also his individual style of play, through regular video footage and one on one discussions.

"Virat always looks to iron out deficiencies. We worked on his alignments, positioning on the crease, his approach in seaming conditions. Shikhar was initially considered to be an off-side player, he used to stay beside the line of the ball. We worked on how he could get behind the line and open up scoring areas and overcome his dismissals against the short ball.

"With Rohit, we worked on his head position to overcome problems against incoming deliveries from right/left arm angles. In Pujara’s case, we worked on reducing the width of his stance and being more upright. It is to their credit that they worked to unlearn old methods.

"Rahane missed out on converting a lot of 50s into 100s in the last 18 months and contributed in all our overseas victories in Johannesburg, Nottingham and Adelaide. I was happy for him that he eventually crossed the three-figure mark in West Indies, where he played a pivotal role in seaming conditions."

Bangar also said India's young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has exceeded expectations in Test cricket. Pant had an ordinary tour of West Indies but had earlier scored centuries in England and Australia.

"Rishabh has surpassed all expectations in Tests," he said. "He is a thinking cricketer and very courageous in playing the quickest of bowlers, but it takes time for any strokeplayer who is so young to understand his game in ODIs, where that urge to control the aerial shot gets him out. A lot of times middle-order batsmen have to play as per the needs of the team. We worked on how he could play along the ground initially and strike rotation.”

There were reports that Bangar had a heated argument with selector Devang Gandhi after he was dropped as batting coach. Bangar said such reports were false.

"The contents of that report were fictitious. I had a very cordial discussion relating to my presentation with Devang, three days after the selection process got over,” Bangar insisted.