As the deadline date of June 10 passed, the BCCI announced that it had received a total of 57 applicants for the post of coach of the Indian cricket team, both from within the country and overseas. The new coach is likely to be unveiled after the BCCI working committee meeting in Dharamsala on June 25, and the board hopes to have the necessary support staff in place before India’s tour of the West Indies, starting July 6.
Here,lets take a look at the most high-profile of the confirmed candidates.
The leading candidate, given his work as team director in the past 18-odd months. The former allrounder turned TV commentator and analyst, who played 80 Tests and 150 ODIs and led India in one Test, was brought in by the BCCI in August 2014 as team director in England following defeat in the Tests. Shastri’s term – and that of his three assistant coaches, Sanjay Bangar Bharat Arun and R Sridhar – was extended until the end of the 2015 World Cup by the BCCI working committee, and then again until the end of the World Twenty20 in March-April of this year. Under Shastri, the Indian team made it to the semi-final stage of five consecutive global tournaments, rose to No 1 in the ICC Test rankings for eight weeks and beat Australia in Australia in a landmark 3-0 T20I series.
On paper, the most qualified candidate from the former India player pool. After an international career that spanned 29 Tests and 45 ODIs to his credit, Patil served as India A coach, coach of the senior Indian team, Kenya – whom he helped to the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup – and Oman. Patil’s term in charge of the Indian team in 1996 lasted only six months, after he took over from Ajit Wadekar following the World Cup semi-final defeat to Sri Lanka. There was also a brief stint with the rebel ICL, after which he was welcomed back to the mainstream and appointed to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore as its head coach and director. In 2012, Patil was named chairman of the BCCI selection committee, a post he has held onto until now.
As a player, his pedigree is unquestionable. India’s greatest match-winner with the ball, with 619 Test wickets, to go with 337 in ODIs. A former captain, Kumble is well respected among the Indian cricket fraternity, which could earn him favour when the BCCI meets to pick the new coach. Though he has no formal coaching experience, which was one of the criteria stated by the BCCI for the position, the 45-year-old has been a mentor for two IPL franchises, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians. Past administrational profiles include serving as president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), chairman of the NCA when Patil was its director and head of the BCCI’s technical committee. Currently, Kumble chairs the ICC cricket committee.
One half of a credible new-ball pace attack for India in the 1990s – along with Karnataka state mate Javagal Srinath – Prasad brings to the table international experience and coaching value. Prasad, who played 33 Tests and 161 ODIs, began coaching in 2006. His experience includes being India’s bowling coach for two years, coach of the Under-19 team, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh as well as in the IPL. In 2013, he applied for the post of Sri Lanka’s head coach. Aside from coaching, the 46-year-old worked with Kumble and Srinath for the KSCA and had a stint with the Asian Cricket Council to promote the sport and groom talent in non-cricketing regions of the continent.
Amre, 47, has gained a reputation of being a superb one-on-one batting coach, having worked with, most notably, Ajinkya Rahane and Robin Uthappa. The likes ofYuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik have also sought time from him following his work with the two aforementioned batsmen. The former India batsman, who played 11 Tests and 37 ODIs between 1992 and 1994, has coached Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy twice. Most recently, he was assistant coach of Delhi Daredevils for the 2015 and 2016 IPL seasons. Previously, he worked with Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors.
As an opening batsman at international level, Rathour’s career was unflattering: 131 runs in six Tests and 193 from seven ODIs. But with over 11,000 first-class runs, of which 6763 were scored for Punjab at an average of 52.42, he was a domestic giant. Having retired at the relatively young age of 34, Rathour has coached Punjab and been assistant coach of IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab, but his biggest role has been that of North Zone selector on the BCCI national selection panel. His proximity to Anurag Thakur, the dynamic politician and now BCCI president, is believed to be a reason behind Rathour’s rise. Rathour also represented Himachal Pradesh, Thakur’s home state.