With the Board of Control for Cricket in India having invited fresh applications for the Indian team support staff, that includes positions of head coach, batting coach, bowling coach and fielding coach, the team could see some new faces in the dressing room.
While the incumbent Ravi Shastri is set to retain his position as head coach despite strong competition from six other candidates, a new batting coach or fielding coach may come on board, The Times of India reported on Thursday.
There are 12 candidates are in fray for the post of batting coach and former national selector Vikram Rathour has emerged as a favourite among the lot, the report stated. The list includes senior coaches Pravin Amre and Lalchand Rajput that also has two foreigners - England’s Jonathan Trott and Sri Lankan Thilan Samaraweera.
Despite the World Cup disappointment, Shastri’s record since his comeback in 2017 has been impressive, having guided the team to its maiden Test series win on Australian soil last year.
In 21 Tests since July 2017, under Shastri, India won 13 of them with a victory percentage of 52.38. It’s even better in T20Is with 25 wins from 36 games with a win percentage of 69.44. The ODI record takes the cake with 43 wins in 60 games and a success rate of 71.67.
With public backing from skipper Virat Kohli, it will be a major surprise if the Shastri is not back at the helm till the 2021 World T20 in India.
“Well, the CAC (Cricket Advisory Committee headed by Kapil Dev) has not contacted me on this. But all of us share a great camaraderie with Ravi bhai and would definitely be very happy (to have him around),” Kohli had said prior to his departure for the West Indies, making it clear where he stands on the issue.
Shastri is expected to appear via SKYPE while Rajput, Hesson and Singh are expected to appear in person in front of a panel that will also comprise former India women’s captain Shantha Rangaswamy and opener Anshuman Gaekwad.
Shastri, who has played 80 Tests and 150 ODIs, was contracted till the World Cup in England, but he was given a 45-day extension till the end of the ongoing West Indies tour, where the visitors have won both the T20 and ODI series.
Shastri’s nearest competitor could be Hesson, considered one of the shrewdest coaches around and Moody, who has had a successful record as an IPL coach for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Moody has appeared a couple of times for the coaches’ interview but was not considered, and this time his task is even more uphill.
Rajput has also tried to get the coveted job multiple times and he might miss out again as Shastri’s credentials are too strong to be ignored.
There could, however, be some debate over if Shastri will be able to retain his complete support staff. The interviews for batting, bowling and fielding coaches will be conducted by the selection committee headed by MSK Prasad.
The position for administrative manager – Sunil Subramaniam’s poor conduct has been criticised by one and all – will also be up for grabs.
It is learned the MSK Prasad-selection panel is looking out for an Indian candidate and this has tilted things in Rathour’s favour, given his experience of working in the domestic circuit and as a national selector.
“The only thing CAC needs to consider is that the individual should be an Indian, who understands our language and precepts,” a source was quoted as saying.
A call is also set to be taken on the fielding coach with the incumbent R Sridhar set to take on Jonty Rhodes and Abhay Sharma.
Meanwhile, Bharat Arun could retain his place as bowling coach with Darren Gough, Venkatesh Prasad, Clint Mckay among the few other candidates to have applied for the post.
“If anyone has done an excellent job with a national team’s bowling attack in recent years, it is Bharat Arun. Look at the transformation the Indian team has gone through. India’s pace attack is the best in the world. Young spinners enjoy great confidence. They were the backbone of India’s fight over the last two years,” another source told the paper.
The three-member Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Kapil Dev, Shantha Rangaswamy and Anshuman Gaekwad will decide the new support staff. The Indian selection committee could also be involved in the interview process for other positions.
Batting coach: Vikram Rathour, Sanjay Bangar, Jonathan Trott, Thilan Samaraweera, Lalchand Rajput, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Amol Mazumdar, Arun Kumar, Mark Ramprakash, Shib Sundar Das, John Lewis, Mithun Manas, Praveen Amre.
Bowling coach: Venkatesh Prasad, Bharat Arun, Clint McKay, Dodda Ganesh, Darren Gough, Subroto Banerjee, Paras Mhambrey, Sunil Joshi, Amit Bhandari.
Fielding coach: Abhay Sharma, R Sridhar and Jonty Rhodes.