The Indian team head coach will be picked on Monday. The BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman will meet in Mumbai for the interview process for the applicants and according to a cricket board functionary, the candidates have been informed about making themselves available for interviews through Skype. The position of India’s head coach has fallen vacant after Anil Kumble’s departure at the end of the Champions Trophy last month.
With July 9 being the deadline for submitting applications, the BCCI hasn’t officially announced the list of candidates yet. Different sources, however, have revealed that Virender Sehwag, Tom Moody, Richard Pybus, Lalchand Rajput and D Ganesh featured in the original list followed by Ravi Shastri, Lance Klusener, Phil Simmons and Rakesh Sharma — the last four having entered the fray after the cricket board extended the deadline. Upendranath Bramhachari, an engineer with no cricketing background, too, has thrown his hat into the ring.
The deadline extension hasn’t gone down well with the Committee of Administrators (CoA). As reported by the this paper, COA member Diana Edulji had formally asked BCCI CEO Rahul Johri about the rationale behind extending the timeline. “She (Edulji) expressed the view that after Anil Kumble had stepped down, the CAC should have chosen a Head Coach from amongst the existing applicants,” the COA minutes of the meeting, held on June 24, confirmed.
Johri’s explanation was that by extending the timeline, the BCCI wanted to provide an opportunity to “some potential candidates” who might not have applied if Kumble was still there in the list, “because it was expected that he would be re-appointed as Head Coach in light of the performance of Team India during his tenure and that it was always better if more people applied”.
India won five Test series on the bounce under Kumble’s charge apart from winning three limited-overs series and reaching the Champions Trophy final. But palpable discord with captain Virat Kohli led to his departure. “… I was informed for the first time yesterday (June 19) by the BCCI that the Captain had reservations with my ‘style’ and about my continuing as Head Coach,” Kumble mentioned in his resignation post, describing the partnership (with the captain) as “untenable”.
Grapevine has it that the timeline extension is basically an overture to facilitate Shastri’s return. The former India captain had been the team director for close two years and oversaw the side’s transition. He is said to have Kohli’s backing. The CoA, however, maintains that the coach selection would be done “on merit” with the CAC having the last word on the matter. “There’s no favourite here. We will go there with an absolutely clean slate,” a CAC member told The Indian Express.
It is not clear whether the CAC or the BCCI will seek the team’s feedback on coach selection. The cricket board CEO travelled to the Caribbean during the ongoing limited-overs series but his visit had nothing to do with the coach issue. Johri went there to sort out matters related to the guarantee money from the West Indies Cricket Board. Last year, Kohli had objected to Kumble’s appointment as head coach after the CAC picked him for the job. “…he (Kohli) had his own views about it. Our president Mr (Anurag) Thakur took the initiative and told him that this was the unanimous choice of the cricket committee and we would have to abide by their recommendation and Kohli should accept it,” Ajay Shirke, who was the BCCI secretary then, had informed during a recent interview with this paper. Last year’s coach appointment process also saw a public fall out between Shastri and Ganguly.