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COA Puts Shastri & Co's Contract on Hold, Question Mark Over Zaheer

The drama in Indian cricket refuses to die down.

Baidurjo Bhose |Cricketnext |July 14, 2017, 12:29 PM IST
COA Puts Shastri & Co's Contract on Hold, Question Mark Over Zaheer

New Delhi: The drama in Indian cricket refuses to die down. Even after the Cricket Advisory Committee – comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman – appointed Ravi Shastri as the head coach and Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan as batting and bowling consultants respectively on Tuesday, they are yet to get an official contract. In fact, the legal team of the BCCI was preparing the same on Thursday when the Committee of Administrators asked them to stop drafting and send them over to the COA who are now set to decide on the contracts to be offered to the coach and the support staff.

Speaking to CricketNext, a senior BCCI official in the know of developments said that things took a turn after the CAC questioned Shastri’s intentions after he made it clear that while he was okay with CAC’s choice of Dravid and Zaheer as consultants, but wanted a full-time bowling coach along with the already present Sanjay Bangar (batting coach). Also, the COA doesn’t want huge disparity in the amount being paid to different assistant coaches and wants to keep a tab on the situation.

“The legal team was preparing the draft for the contracts, but the COA asked for the papers and the final call will be taken by the COA. They are also set to meet Shastri and it looks like a final call will be taken after taking him into the loop. Shastri has in fact made it clear that while Dravid and Zaheer’s presence from time to time would be invaluable, he needs a full-time bowling coach,” the official said.

The official further added that there was a clear question mark over the former India pacer joining the support staff as he had asked for an astronomical figure of Rs 4 crore, when the board had approached him the last time. And it is highly unlikely that the COA would agree to pay him such an amount while regular batting coach Bangar gets a lot less, even though he is a full-time coach.

“This is not the first time that Zak has been approached. He was approached last year as well, but he clearly refused because he wasn’t given the amount he demanded. Also, he wasn’t too keen on coming on board on a full-time basis. Now to think that the COA will also agree to compensate over the Rs 4 crore even though he will only be a consultant is expecting a bit too much it seems,” he said.

In fact, things have taken an ugly turn ever since Shastri said he wasn’t willing to let others (CAC) pick his support staff. In a strongly worded letter, the members of the CAC – led by Tendulkar – wrote to Vinod Rai and Amitabh Choudhary and questioned the reason for the uproar when the decision to appoint Dravid and Zaheer was taken keeping all parties in the loop.

The letter, in possession of CricketNext, reads in one paragraph: “We spoke to Mr Shastri about getting Mr Khan and Mr Dravid on board in these capacities, and he readily agreed to the idea of having them in the set-up so that it would benefit the team and Indian cricket as a whole in time to come. It was only after getting Mr Shastri’s consent that we also recommended Mr Khan and Mr Dravid, in their respective capacities.”

But the BCCI still played it safe and while Zaheer was earlier named bowling consultant, in the mail sent on Thursday evening, he too was given the overseas tag like Dravid. Meanwhile, certain quarters have said that Shastri is set to get former bowling coach Bharat Arun on board when he meets the COA for the discussion.

As per the current contract, Dravid is set to get Rs 4.5 crore in the first year with an increment of around 10 per cent next year. Now with the BCCI legal team working out his new contract after the addition of the consultant’s role, the payment will obviously increase.

Clearly, the COA needs to sort the mess at the earliest and ensure that the newly appointed head coach and the consultants get their respective contracts at the earliest.

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