RAVI SHASTRI got what he wanted, and then he demanded a bit more. After convincing the BCCI to sign up the assistant coaches of his choice, Shastri floated the idea of roping in Sachin Tendulkar as the team’s consultant for overseas tours.
With Bharat Arun and Sanjay Bangar named as bowling and assistant coaches respectively, Shastri has retained the core team from his earlier stint as Team Director.
Meanwhile, the decision on consultants has gone on the back burner with BCCI providing no clarity about their roles. Not keen to crowd the dressing room with too many former players, the BCCI, it is learnt, may use their services only during home series and is unlikely to include them in the team management on away tours.
In another win for Shastri, the BCCI has agreed to an enhanced annual pay package. The former India skipper will get Rs 7.5 crore — Rs 1.25 crore more than his predecessor Anil Kumble. It is learnt that Shastri, at a meeting with a committee comprising BCCI president C K Khanna, secretary Amitabh Choudhary, Committee of Administrators (CoA) member Diana Edulji and BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, had demanded Rs 7.75 crore.
According to a member of the committee, Shastri’s increased remuneration was finalised keeping in mind that as head coach, he will have to give up his role as commentator and end his media commitments.
It is learnt that Bangar will get Rs 2.20 crore and Arun Rs 2 crore annually.
Shastri said he was very clear about the men he wanted by his side. “I was in England and watching tennis. I was very clear in my mind what my core team would be,” he said, when asked about the confusion over the Indian team’s support staff.
Stating that he had spoken to Dravid and Zaheer, he said: “All depends on their availability, it depends on the individual, how many days they want to give to the team. Their inputs will be invaluable and they are most welcome. I have spoken to both gentlemen personally… They are fantastic cricketers. They can be on board once they speak to these concerned authorities.”
Sources said the “concerned authority” — BCCI in this case — is considering the terms and conditions set by Dravid and Zaheer. Those in the know said Zaheer wants to continue playing the IPL and is willing to work with the national team for about 25 days in a year. Dravid, meanwhile, doesn’t mind the additional role, but is only willing to work with the players at pre-series camps or during net sessions. He isn’t keen to be a part of the dressing room during matches. As for Tendulkar, the BCCI is yet to approach him.
With the coaching staff finally in place, the BCCI tried to play down the delay and confusion surrounding these appointments. Asked to comment on the fiasco, BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary said, “…I am absolutely clear that this is not a fiasco. Once we appointed the head coach, he obviously had to think of the responsibility which comes with that appointment, and it is very clear that he wanted his core team. The other two (Zaheer and Dravid) are consultants.”