Two days after India lost to Pakistan in the final of the Champions Trophy in England, Anil Kumble quit as head coach. It came at an odd time, just when India were departing for a short series in the West Indies. Kumble stated that his position had become ‘untenable’, owing to players not being comfortable with his style of management. The BCCI had, prior to the Champions Trophy, advertised the coaching position as Kumble’s contract was coming to an end.
India went ahead to the West Indies without a head coach. The BCCI extended the deadline for applications to July 9. Among those who have applied, here are five contenders:
Considered the frontrunner for the post, the former India allrounder confirmed on July 3 that he had applied for the post. He is no stranger to the job of coaching the Indian team. He did it in 2007, when he served as Team Director for a brief period after the Australian Greg Chappell was sacked following India’s disastrous World Cup in the West Indies. He took over as director again seven years later, and the team enjoyed some success under his watch, reaching the World Cup semi-final and reaching the top of the ICC Test rankings. His contract expired at the end of the 2016 World T20 and when the BCCI invited applications, Shastri chose to do the interview via Skype from Thailand. What followed was a misunderstanding between him and Sourav Ganguly (part of the panel that picked the coach), when both made comments to the media. Shastri eventually lost out to Anil Kumble. What works in Shastri’s favour is that he already knows the players well and can communicate with some of them in their language.
The former Indian opening batsman doesn’t have any extensive coaching experience, since he retired from competitive cricket only in 2015. Since then, he has worked with Kings XI Punjab in the IPL as a Team Director in 2016 and later as Head of Cricket Operations during the 2017 season. He was, reportedly, asked by the BCCI to apply for the India coach position when the board listed the vacancy. It was rumoured that he had sent in a two-line application, which he denied, saying in his usual tongue-in-cheek style: “If I had to sent a two-line resume, my name was enough.” Sehwag has been doing Hindi commentary for Star Sports and is a Twitter celebrity in his own right. The question is whether he is serious about taking on such a big responsibility of coaching the Indian team.
The Australian is one of the most experienced international coaches, having coached Sri Lanka, Worcestershire, Western Australia and is currently Sunrisers Hyderabad’s coach. Moody has shown interest before in coaching India, first in 2005 and in 2016. Of late, though, the BCCI has preferred Indian coaches over foreigners. An Indian coach will break down the communication barrier. Will the board even consider a foreigner this time?
The Englishman has international coaching experience, having coached Pakistan (twice) and Bangladesh once, though the latter stint lasted only five months before resigning over a disagreement with the cricket board. In 2013, he was appointed director of West Indies cricket for three years where he was given the task of making big decisions of the structure of domestic cricket, all working towards making West Indies more competitive. He is relatively not as high profile as Moody.
The former Bombay batsman, who played two Tests for India in 1985, has vast coaching experience in India, having been in charge of junior sides. He has worked with Virat Kohli before, when the current India captain was an under-19 player. Rajput was the coach when a young Indian side under M.S Dhoni won the 2007 World T20. He was interviewed when India looked for a coach in 2016 but missed out to Kumble. He is currently coaching Afghanistan. Will he leave them to have another shot at the India job? If the BCCI is looking for a low-profile coach who will work quietly on the sidelines, Rajput may be their man.
Source: The Hindu