Dubai: The formality of giving an extension to Ravi Shastri as the head coach of India for two more years been done with, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will now focus its attention on the selection of the support staff from Monday.
The posts of the trio of batting, bowling and fielding coaches will be up for grabs at the end of the ongoing West Indies tour and much as in the case of Shastri, the preference for the candidates in these positions also seem to be an ill-kept secret despite the presence of some serious competition among the shortlisted candidates. The post that is almost certain to see a change is that of the batting coach — where former Test opener Vikram Rathour has emerged as the favourite to replace Sanjay Bangar, who had been in that position for nearly five years now.
The 50-year-old Rathour, who was a prolific scorer in the domestic circuit but could never do the reputation much justice in the six Tests and seven One-day Internationals that he had played between 1996-1997, has earned the confidence of batting legend Rahul Dravid, former India A coach and the current director of National Cricket Academy (NCA). Rathour candidature as a batting coach for NCA and India ‘A’ coach had been thwarted in the past by the Supreme Court-appointed Court of Administrators on the ‘Conflict of Interest’ clause, but the Punjab batsman has received a clean chit and is tipped to pip seasoned coach Pravin Amre to the job.
There are 12 shortlisted names for the batting coach’s position, which include former England batsmen Jonathan Trott, Mark Ramprakash, Sri Lanka’s Thilan Samaraweera, Amol Muzumdar, Hrishikesh Kanitkar — apart from Amre and current incumbent Bangar himself. The last-named, by all accounts, is now being blamed for failing to finding a solution to India’s much talked-about No 4 batting slot as well as repeated batting failures in overseas conditions.
The bowling coach’s position has names like Darren Gough, the former England and Yorkshire paceman, and former Indian bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad, but the present incumbent Bharat Arun is expected to sail through as the performance of the bowlers — especially the pacemen — has seen a significant consistency under his guidance.
There is also conspicuous interest to see if the current fielding coach, R. Sridhar, is eventually replaced as none less than Jonty Rhodes — acknowledged as one of the best fielders ever with a wealth of experience in this role — has jumped in the fray.
In an interesting development, the three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy, has now asked the CoA to include the CAC in the process of appointment of the Indian team’s support staff. The current constitution empowers the CAC to only select the head coach while the selectors were empowered to name the support staff. According to reports in the media, the CAC has written to the administrators expressing its desire to be a part of the selection process — putting the CoA in a quandary and may delay the naming of the new coaches comprising the support staff.
— With inputs from agencies