CHENNAI: IT’S official. The next Team India coach will be Indian. The BCCI has shortlisted Ravi Shastri, Anil Kumble, Sandeep Patil, Pravin Amre and Lalchand Rajput for an interview in Kolkata on Tuesday.
The board’s cricket advisory committee (CAC) of Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman will speak to the five candidates in a meeting with former board secretary Sanjay Jagdale, who is convenor of the committee. Tendulkar is abroad and will link up via video conference. Among familiar names missing out are former India cricketers Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh, alongside Stuart Law, the most prominent foreigner to apply for the job.
After the BCCI advertised for the position on June 1, as many as 57 applications were submitted. Last week, it was pruned to 21 by board secretary Ajay Shirke and was sent to Jagdale. It is understood that the five shortlisted by CAC will make a presentation to the panel, following which one name will be forwarded to BCCI. The decision will be made on June 24 after a working committee meeting in Dharamsala.
According to the buzz in BCCI circles, one understands that Shastri, who was team director till his contract expired in March, is the frontrunner. One of the reasons why he holds the edge seems to be that Test captain Virat Kohli is in favour of the former India skipper.
Even for the sake of continuity, Shastri brings stability to the team. The only factor against Shastri is understood to be the salary he is demanding.
“You could say at the moment he is frontrunner. It will eventually be decided by the CAC. Going by what happened in the past, salary could be a factor in him taking up the job. He was earning `7crore annually and would obviously ask for more. But in case of other candidates, that is not the case as they are ready to negotiate because of the job profile,” sources in the BCCI told Express.
Among others, Kumble too appears to have a good chance, although he doesn’t fit the BCCI’s criterion that the candidate should have experience of coaching a national or first-class team. Kumble, however, has been mentor of Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. India’s leading Test wicket taker with 619 scalps is arguably also the biggest match-winner for the nation.
However, there are whispers in board circles that Kumble might face a possible of conflict of interest issue, in case he is selected. The former India captain quit as chairman of National Cricket Academy in 2011 after a controversy regarding his co-ownership of a talent management firm — Tenvic — which manages a few Karnataka players. If Kumble is not considered, Patil — whose term as chairman of selection committee gets over in September — is seen as the dark horse.
It is learnt that Patil will appear before the panel via video conference and Shastri might also do the same as there are doubts over him appearing in person.