The head coach for the Indian men’s cricket team is expected to be picked today. Given the drama that has followed the exit of Anil Kumble and the surprising revelations that came around that time he was nearing the end of his tenure as coach there has been a high level of media glare around this issue. At this time, Ravi Shastri seems to be the front-runner as Virat Kohli and a lot of other members of the team prefer him. However, Indian cricket is always known to throw up surprises. A lot of factors could come into play over here – the less than palatable equation between Ganguly, one of the selectors, and Shastri; the relationship between Moody and Laxman, also one of the selectors; and the backing that Sehwag has from some influential people in the board.
Shastri leading the way
As has been stated already Shastri leads the field of applicants for the coach’s post and he will appear in the interview being conducted by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) that will be led by Ganguly on Skype. Incidentally, the last time around too Shastri had given the interview via Skype. He fell out with Ganguly after pointing out that the latter was not there at the time when he gave the interview. Ganguly had shot back saying that Shastri should have been physically present during the interview if he valued the post of coach so much.
Apart from Shastri, there are some other high profile applicants as well. Let us take a brief look at them and their coaching credentials:
- Virender Sehwag – mentor of Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2017
- Tom Moody – former coach of Sri Lanka men’s team, presently the coach of Sunrisers Hyderabad and Melbourne Renegades
- Richard Pybus – former coach of Pakistan and Bangladesh
- Dodda Ganesh – former coach of Goa cricket team
- Lalchand Rajput – present coach of Afghanistan men’s team and former coach of Indian men’s team
- Lance Klusener – former batting coach of Zimbabwe
- Phil Simmons – former coach of Zimbabwe, Ireland, and West Indies
- Rakesh Sharma – present coach of Oman men’s team
- Upendranath Brahmachari – an engineer without any cricketing background
How many will be interviewed?
Even though CAC, which also has Sachin Tendulkar apart from Ganguly and Laxman, has received 10 applications, it is not expected to interview more than six candidates. The candidates who will be called for the interview are Shastri, Sehwag, Moody, Rajput, Simmons, and Pybus. Klusener is expected to be on the standby. It is expected that the next coach will be contracted for two years, which means he will probably be in charge till 2019 World Cup.
How will the interviews be conducted?
Apart from Shastri, Pybus, Rajput, and Simmons are expected to take part in the interview through video conferencing. Sehwag is expected to appear physically before the interview committee. All the shortlisted candidates have been informed about their selection for the interview. Rajput is presently in England with his Afghan wards for a match against MCC XI. Moody has emerged as a frontrunner with Shastri thanks to his immense experience in coaching in India and around the world as well as his calm nature and the ability to work from behind the scenes. However, what could finally tilt the scales in Shastri’s favour is the success he achieved in his tenure as team director and the obvious preference that the likes of Kohli have for him. More importantly, Tendulkar – expected to take part in the meeting on Skype from London – is expected to support him as well for Kohli and Co’s preference for him.