CHENNAI: As reported by this newspaper, Vikram Rathour has emerged as the first choice of the MSK Prasad-led selection committee to be India’s new batting coach.
The former India opener pipped incumbent Sanjay Bangar, who came second in the interview process. He was followed by England’s Mark Ramprakash. There won’t be any changes with regards to bowling and fielding coaches. Bharathi Arun and R Sridhar have been recommended by the panel to continue till the 2021 T20 World Cup.
After a four-day process to identify the support staff, BCCI CEO Rahul Johri announced the recommendations made by Prasad & Co. The biggest surprise was with regards to Bangar, who had maintained a good rapport with captain Virat Kohli.
While Rathour has previously been linked with the batting coach role at National Cricket Academy, his appointment was put on hold because of conflict of interest charges. The former Punjab opener happens to be a relative of junior selection panel head Ashish Kapoor, and according to BCCI’s constitution, that comes under conflict of interest.
Though he has been recommended for the national job, Johri revealed that Rathour will be asked to disclose if there are any conflict charges. “Rathour has got enough experience and we are convinced with his skill sets. We will ask him to declare if he has any conflict. The team management had their own views but looking ahead, we felt there should be some freshness in the support staff,” Johri said.
Jonty Rhodes, who was expected to give strong competition to fielding coach Sridhar, didn’t even make the final cut. Abhay Sharma and T Dilip were the second and third choices. “From an interview point of view, he (Sridhar) kicked my butt,” Rhodes said during an event in Chennai. “People actually asked me how I’d done. I was like, ‘I don’t know’. For the first time, I had to write down things from scratch, from throws to where the hands are (while catching). It was great journey, preparing for the post. I’ve learned a lot,” he added.
As expected, Arun retained his position as bowling coach. India A and U-19 in-charge Paras Mhambrey came second, followed by former India seamer Venkatesh Prasad.
Nitin Patel, who was Indian team’s physiotherapist between 2007 and 2015, will come back to the national fold after spending the last few years with Mumbai Indians. He faced competition from Andrew Leipus, who was India’s first full-time physio during the John Wright era.
Luke Woodhouse, Grant Luden, Rajnikanth Sivagnanam, Nick Webb and Anand Date have been shortlisted for the role of strength and conditioning coach, and will undergo another round of interview at NCA. Girish Dongre will replace Sunil Subramaniam as the administrative manager.
(with inputs from Srinidhi PR)