Vikram Rathour is set to become the new batting coach of India men’s cricket team after the All-India Senior Selection Committee of BCCI shortlisted the candidates for each criteria of support staff of Team India in Mumbai on Thursday.
The five-member committee comprising MSK Prasad, Sarandeep Singh, Gagan Khoda and Jatin Paranjape and Devang Gandhi decided to shortlist Vikram Rathour ahead of Sanjay Bangar as the batting coach. Meanwhile, Bharat Arun and R Sridhar are to be retained as the bowling and fielding coaches.
The 50-year-old Rathour had played six Tests and seven ODIs in 1996 without much success but was a domestic heavyweight for Punjab. Till 2016, he was a senior national selector under Sandeep Patil’s chairmanship.
“Vikram Rathour has got enough experience and we are convinced with his skill sets (as a coach). We will ask him to declare if he has any conflict (of interest),” said BCCI CEO Rahul Johri.
Prasad, however, dismissed rumours that Bangar was made the scapegoat as he termed his committee’s recommendations were free and fair from all bias.
” I don’t agree with that and we heard his (Bangar) presentation and after hearing his presentation. Let anybody say anything, in the most honest and fair manner, we have conducted the interviews and we felt that Vikram Rathour was first preference for us,” Prasad said.
Sridhar, who has reportedly got the backing of head coach Ravi Shastri after India’s improved fielding performances over the last couple of years, was ranked above former Railways coach Abhay Sharma and Hyderabad fielding coach T Dilip. South Africa’s Jonty Rhodes also failed to make the cut.
Since Monday, the committee led by Prasad interviewed a total of 78 candidates for all the positions of support staff in a process that ended on Thursday evening.
Former Mumbai Indians physio Nitin Patel, who was part of India’s support staff during the victorious 2011 World Cup campaign, is all set for a comeback, pipping Andrew Leipus, who is second on the shortlist.
The other notable candidate set to lose his job is incumbent administrative manager Sunil Subramaniam, who is set to be removed for his alleged misbehaviour towards top diplomats of the Indian government during the ongoing tour of West Indies.
A second round of interviews is to be conducted to assess the shortlisted candidates’ practical skills for the post of Strength and Conditioning Coach to the NCA. The candidates are Luke Woodhouse, Grant Luden, Rajnikanth Sivagnanam, Nick Webb, and Anand Date.
Prasad made it clear that three shortlisted names is a mere formality unless the second or the third candidate is being potentially seen for India A or NCA job.
“See, ideally if you look at number one choices, I think we have seen all aspects like Conflict of Interest, they will be taking their jobs. There is no point in looking at second and third positions expect in one case where we brought in Mark Ramprakash,” he said.
“Otherwise, I don’t really see taking them for second and third slots, we will using them for India A cricket and we might use them for NCA also.”
(with PTI inputs)