CHENNAI: Tuesday is going to be a big day for Sanjay Bangar. Part of the Indian team’s support staff since 2014 in his role as batting coach and then as assistant coach, his future with the national side continues to be under big suspense. The senior selection committee, led by MSK Prasad, interviewed more than 10 candidates for the posts of batting and bowling coach. And it is understood that much of the focus has been on replacing the former Railways stalwart.
When the Committee of Administrators reappointed Ravi Shastri as head coach till 2021, the rest of the support staff were also expected to continue unchanged along with him. But it has been reliably learnt that there will be change of personnel, at least with regards to the batting coach.
On Monday, Pravin Amre, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Amol Muzumdar, Lalchand Rajput, Vikram Rathour and Sitanshu Kotak appeared before the selectors — entrusted with the job of naming the support staff — in person for the batting coach role. Jonathan Trott, another candidate who had expressed his interest in taking up the batting coach role — joined them via Skype.
Bangar, who is currently in Antigua, will appear on Tuesday, alongside bowling coach Bharathi Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar.While Bangar continues to have the backing of captain Virat Kohli, he doesn’t seem to enjoy the same kind of support from Shastri. In fact, reliable sources have indicated that the former India captain wants a new coach. Though he hasn’t recommended anyone for the post, he has apparently shown his preference for an Indian taking up the particular role.
There is a strong feeling that except for Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, the rest of the batsmen have become stagnated beyond a point and struggled to score runs in overseas conditions. It is one area that Shastri now wants to concentrate on, because the ICC Test Championship is now underway. That, and the possible inclusion of youngsters in the limited-over scheme of things.
While domestic stalwart Muzumdar is expected to be a strong contender, Rathour will give him a tough competition for the batting coach role. But, interestingly, most of these candidates were rejected for the batting coach position that is currently lying vacant at National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. Questions will be raised as to how those who were considered misfit for NCA can be deemed eligible for the national side.
While Arun is expected to continue in his role of bowling coach, Venkatesh Prasad, Amit Bhandari, Subroto Banerjee and Paras Mhambrey appeared for the interview.
Pravin Amre, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Amol Muzumdar, Lalchand Rajput, Vikram Rathour, Sitanshu Kotak and Jonathan Trott are some who were interviewed for batting coach. Sources say Ravi Shastri is keen to have an Indian in this role.