After over 2000 applications, BCCI has shortlisted six candidates for the post of the Indian men’s cricket team head coach. Incumbent Ravi Shastri leads the list of candidates to be interviewed by Cricket Advisory Committee and is joined by Mike Hesson, Tom Moody, Robin Singh, Lalchand Rajput, Phil Simmons. This makes it three Indian and three overseas contenders vying for the spot.
While current coach Shastri got automatic entry for the selection process and is considered favourite to retain the position, almost everyone has a considerable amount of international experience.
The next India head coach will be picked based only on the collective opinion of the three-member Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Kapil Dev, Shantha Rangaswamy and Anshuman Gaekwad.
Here’s a look at the five other candidates up against captain Virat Kohli-backed Shastri and their coaching credentials at various levels:
The former New Zealand coach is a relatively young name on the list but has a solid international track record. He started coaching at the age of 22 and has around two decades of experience. He was involved with Otago in New Zealand was the former coach of Kenya as well. But his biggest achievement was the six-year long stint with New Zealand.
The 44-year-old was described by former captain Brendon McCullum as “the best coach the Black Caps have ever had” – guided the team to new heights across all three formats. This included reaching the 2015 Cricket World Cup final in Australia, a semi-final finish at the 2016 World Twenty20 in India and a home Test series win over England in April 2018 which lifted them to third in the world rankings.
Hesson also has the experience of coaching in India, taking over as the head coach of Kings XI Punjab. He was at the helm of IPL franchise for only a season before parting ways to apply for the India job. He has also reportedly applied for the Pakistan head coach job.
Former Australia cricketers Tom Moody is a seasoned coach in international cricket as well as in franchise cricket, especially in India with stints at Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
A part of Australia’s World Cup-winning sides in 1987 and 1999, his biggest success as coach of an international team was when he guided Sri Lanka to the World Cup final in 2007. But his credentials at the T20 franchise level is practically unmatched. Apart from his work with Western Australia and Worcestershire at the domestic level, he has the experience of coaching and managing teams in six different countries.
Along with his steady success with Sunrisers that saw them win the title in 2016, he has also worked with Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League, Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League and Bangladesh Premier League franchise Rangpur Riders. More recently, he was named as the coach of the Montreal Tigers franchise team for the 2019 Global T20 Canada tournament. he has also been the director of cricket at the Caribbean Premier League.
Interestingly, Moody had applied for the India coach post in 2005, 2008 and 2017 as well but has had no luck so far.
The 56-year-old West Indies has had several stints with international teams but none as high profile as India.
Simmons began his coaching career with the Zimbabwe cricket team in 2004. He has previously coached Ireland and Afghanistan cricket teams. With Ireland, he was at the helm during their most successful wins including the upset win over England at the 2007 and 2011 World Cup. But his highest point as coach was when he took the West Indies to the 2016 World T20 trophy.
He took over as Afghanistan coach in December 2017 and helped them get ready for their Test debut as well as qualify for the 2019 World Cup. He had applied for the India job in 2017 as well.
Former team manager Lalchand Rajput has also thrown his hat in the ring for the job of the Indian cricket team’s head coach. While he may not have as much experience as the international names on this list, he was the coach cum manager of the Indian team that lifted the inaugural World T20 trophy in 2007.
Internationally, he has coached the Afghanistan and Zimbabwe teams. He was the current coach of Zimbabwe team till the International Cricket Council suspended Zimbabwe Cricket for government interference.
The former Mumbai opener, who also played for India, has also coached domestic side Assam apart from a team in the T20 Mumbai League for two years. A source close to Rajput was quoted as saying by PTI that if he is not considered for the head coach’s position, Rajput has requested the BCCI to consider him as a batting coach.
The former India fielding coach Robin Singh is in the fray for the head coach job as well.
While he does not have quite the experience of coaching international teams, he has previously been in charge of the India Under-19 and A teams as well as a coach with Mumbai Indians. He has also been in charge of the Hong Kong national cricket team back in 2004 and coached the USA Under-19 and women’s cricket team in the past. At the franchise level, he has been on the coaching team of the Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League. He has also been a part of Hong Kong T20 Blitz, Tamil Nadu Premier League, and T10 League
Singh has been part of the Indian support staff before, holding the role of the fielding coach between 2007 and ‘09. That stint saw India win a Test series in England, lift the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa as well succeeding in the triangular ODI series trophy in Australia for the first time.