Sanjay Bangar five-year tenure as batting coach of India ended recently after the West Indies tour. He has served the side for the last five years and he chose to reflect on it. “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,” Bangar told TOI.
He also answered a lot of questions on the occasion and was frank about a lot of topics.
India’s loss to New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final was hotly debated. The inability to consolidate a solid number 4 in the batting order was an almost of experiments of the sort being tried during the tournament. So what was the team searching for as they continued to shuffle with KL Rahul, Rayudu, Vijay Shankar and finally Rishabh Pant?
Sanjay Bangar thought he was unfairly criticized for failing to consolidate someone in the number 4 to negotiate with English conditions. “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.”
Everyone of Ravi Shastri’s support staff was retained except for Sanjay Bangar, who was replaced by former Indian opener Vikram Rathour. So how did Bangar view this decision?
“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 allowing me to serve Indian cricket for five years.”This break gives me time to reflect, refresh and reinvent,” he said.
Sanjay Bangar was acclaimed for working on and making a difference in the technique of the players. The technique was the foundation of Bangar’s playing career having played the sport on the maidans of Mumbai as well as the dustbowls of Delhi. “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 style of play, through regular video footage and one on one discussions,” he revealed.
During his stint, the Indian batting order worked like a well-oiled machine. Virat Kohli got 43 centuries, Rohit bagged 28 and Shikhar Dhawan managed 18 while CheteshwarPujara scored 12 centuries in Tests. So what exactly did he work on with them?
“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 the 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.”
“As far as Murali Vijay goes, when a player is playing only one format, it adds to the challenge of immediately finding the rhythm in international cricket if you are opening in tough overseas conditions.”
On a question about whether he ever felt disrespected by the superstars in the Indian team, Bangar revealed, “Never. My experience in dealing with players is that once they trust you, they are more concerned about their future rather than the coach’s past.”
Receive more interesting news, updates and live scores on your smartphones, download CricDost app now!