The process to select the head coach of the Indian senior team was quickfire affair last week, with the three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) completing the entire process within a day re-electing Ravi Shastri to continue in his position for 26 more months.
The interviews for the different position of support staff have stretched to four days with the senior selection committee led by chairman MSK Prasad interviewing a plethora of candidates at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai from Monday (August 19).
Day one began with interviews for batting coach, although incumbent Sanjay Bangar was only interviewed over Skype on Tuesday (August 20). A total of 14 candidates for the position of batting coach were interviewed, 12 for bowling coach, 9 for fielding coach, 16 for the position of physiotherapist and 12 for the post of strength and conditioning Coach.
Former India cricketers like Vikram Rathour, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Pravin Amre and Lalchand Rajput along with foreign candidates like Mark Ramprakash and Jonathan Trott from England appeared for the interview on Monday.
“Bangar spoke to the panel for over 90 minutes on Tuesday. He was asked in detail about Indian batting failures in South Africa and England in Test cricket as well as decision to hold back MS Dhoni in the World Cup semifinal,” BCCI sources informed CricketNext.
The bowling coach Bharat Arun is on much stronger ground as compared to Bangar. Under Arun, the Indian bowling attack has prospered in all foreign conditions with Jasprit Bumrah emerging as a world-class bowler. The likes of Mohammed Shami have also improved a lot but the spinners form, including that of Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav, has fluctuated a lot.
Arun also appeared for the interview along with fielding coach R. Sridhar for the interview over Skype on Tuesday evening from West Indies. Other candidates who appeared in person were Venkatesh Prasad, Sunil Joshi, Amit Bhandari while the likes of Steffan Jones and Darren Gough held their interviews over Skype.
Sridhar, who has the support of current Indian coach, was among 16 candidates for bowling and fielding coaches who were interviewed by the panel on Tuesday. His competitors South Africa’s Jonty Rhodes and former Bangladesh and Pakistan fielding coach Julien Fountain appeared over Skype too.
The final day (Wednesday) was reserved for interviews for the position of physio, trainer and administrative manager. CricketNext was informed that over 25 candidates were shortlisted for interviews for the position of administrative manager, which is currently held by Sunil Subramaniam. The last set of interviews will be held on Thursday (August 22).
The manager, who is presently in West Indies with the team, had found himself in the middle of a controversy last week for allegedly misbehaving with officials of the Indian High Commission in the Caribbean islands.
He was initially asked to return, but after offering an unconditional apology to the Committee of Administrators chief Vinod Rai, he was asked to stay back.
ONGC coach Gautam Vadera is one of the candidates for the position of manager.
“These candidates have to make their own travel arrangements to reach Mumbai for the interviews. The BCCI is not footing the bill for any of the applicants,” a BCCI official said.
It’ll be interesting to see how many changes will be made to the Indian support staff with current coach Shastri requesting the BCCI to retain most of his current team for the sake of continuity. The BCCI are expected to make the final announcement on Thursday with the support staff appointed for a period of 2 years, beginning from series against South Africa later this year and up until the T20 World Cup 2021.