Sanjay Bangar has been appointed as the head coach of the Indian team for the upcoming limited-overs series in Zimbabwe. Former Railways wicketkeeper Abhay Sharma, who has worked with the India ‘A’, Rest of India and U-19 teams, will be there as the fielding coach.
The BCCI, however, didn’t appoint a bowling coach for the short series during which India will play three ODIs and as many T20 internationals, starting June 11.
Bangar, the ex-India and Railways allrounder, had been part of the Indian team as assistant coach till the World T20. His appointment as the interim boss came along the expected lines.
But Bharat Arun and R Sridhar, the erstwhile bowling coach and fielding coach respectively, were omitted. Like Bangar and team director Ravi Shastri, their contracts too ran till the World T20.
“We didn’t drop anyone. Don’t read anything between the lines. This is a very short series and we wanted to give Bangar an opportunity to see how he performs. And because it’s a short series, we felt the head coach should look after batting and bowling. This is the reason why we didn’t appoint a bowling coach,” BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke told The Indian Express.
“We have opened the process of bringing in a full-time coach with June 10 being set as the deadline for the candidate to apply for the job. We intend to finalise things after that. So this is just a stop-gap arrangement. Abhay Sharma has been picked on the basis of his performance with India U-19,” he added.
Bangar came on board as a part of damage control exercise following India’s Test debacle in England two years ago. Then India coach Duncan Fletcher had been retained in the job but Shastri superseded him as team director. Arun and Sridhar replaced then bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penney.
Back then, Bangar had been witnessing a fine season as a coach, taking Kings XI Punjab to the IPL 7 final and winning many accolades. His job in the Indian team became more hands-on as Fletcher left after the 2015 World Cup.
It would be interesting to see if Bangar finds a role in the Indian team once the BCCI makes a long-term arrangement.
The newly-elected BCCI president Anurag Thakur had said after the SGM on May 22 that the governing body of Indian cricket “will advertise for the post of coach, and by June 10 anyone who is willing to take up the post, can apply to the BCCI. The candidate will be finalised after that”. Asked if Shastri, Bangar, Arun and Sridhar would be eligible to apply, he said: “Of course, yes. It is open for everyone whether the current support staff, (or) from outside India or within India; anyone who is keen to be a coach with the Indian team or take other responsibilities — bowling, batting, fielding coach or the head coach — all these positions would be available.”