The speculations and drama surrounding Team India’s search for the head coach finally came to end on Tuesday night (July 11) with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointing former team director Ravi Shastri as the head coach.
Shastri was one of the five candidates who were interviewed by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly on Monday (July 10). The other four candidates were Virender Sehwag, Tom Moody, Richard Pybus and Lalchand Rajput and while the CAC was expected to announce the new coach on the same day, it delayed the decision by a day, citing their wish to take skipper Virat Kohli‘s inputs before taking the final call.
“The BCCI announces the appointment of Mr. Ravi Shastri as the Head Coach, Mr. Zaheer Khan as the Bowling Consultant and Mr. Rahul Dravid who will be the Overseas Batting Consultant (Test cricket) for the Indian Cricket Team,” the BCCI confirmed in a media release.
Shastri’s return,meanwhile, will be a welcome change in the Indian dressing room which has faced severe criticism since Anil Kumble’s acrimonious exit last month. Shastri was a popular figure in the dressing during his tenure as the director between 2014 and 2016 and shares a good equation with Kohli who has been in the centre of storm. During Shastri’s tenure, India made it to the semifinal of World Cup as well as World T20 in addition to winning Test series against Sri Lanka and South Africa and Shastri would hope that he continues to work on the foundation laid during Kumble’s regime.
Bowling coach Zaheer Khan does not have any formal coaching experience but has mentored youngsters during his international career and in the Indian Premier League where he leads Delhi Daredevils. On the other hand, Dravid, who recently resigned as Daredevils’ mentor, has been handed a two-year contract extension as the coach of India A and Under-19 sides.
“(Zaheer) Khan is a contemporary cricketer who assumed the mentoring role to a young fast bowling unit even during his playing days with India. His inputs will be of immense value to our young fast bowlers, who have shown tremendous potential in the last couple of years. As the Indian team is to play Test cricket overseas in the next two years, Rahul Dravid’s expertise as batting consultant will be immensely helpful for youngsters,” BCCI said.
The new coaching staff’s first assignment will be the upcoming series in Sri Lanka, starting July 26.