New Delhi: With Ravi Shastri finally deciding to apply for the position of Team India's head coach in the near future, the question that arises is whether he has already been given a surety on getting the top job by the Indian cricket board.
Cricketnext had earlier reported that BCCI had approached Shastri for the job after re-opening the application process for the now vacant position. Sources had told Cricketnext that Shastri had informed the board that he would apply for the position only if he was given an assurance of getting the job.
Former coach Anil Kumble opened the proverbial can of worms after stepping down from the position, stating in a personal note that his position had become 'untenable' due to the 'difference in style' with captain Virat Kohli. Kohli's chemistry with Shastri is well documented and an attempt by the board to get Shastri to apply could well be seen as another sign of Kohli flexing his muscles.
"It is no secret that skipper Virat Kohli wants Shastri back at helm and Shastri was spoken to so that he applies for the interview process, but the former team director isn't willing to be in a position where his claim is rejected again. He has made it clear that he will speak to the BCCI or CAC on this matter only if he is given a guarantee that he will be handed the job. There is no question of joining a queue and hoping that he is considered for the post," the official had told CricketNext.
It is quite clear that the board wants to give the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), comprising of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, more options before they pick the ideal candidate. As of now, former India opener Virender Sehwag, Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody, former Team India manager Lalchand Rajput, former Pakistan coach Richard Pybus and Doda Ganesh are the applicants.
Acting BCCI president CK Khanna told CricketNext that the next Indian coach will be appointed before the team's Sri Lanka begins in late July.
"I don't want to discuss this matter - (re-application for post of coach) - as it is a call that has been taken keeping the on-going situation in mind. All I can guarantee is that the Indian team will get a new coach before the Sri Lanka tour and whoever is handed the job will get a contract till the 2019 World Cup,” the top official said.
Shastri's return though will not be as easy as it appears. The former Team Director had an ugly showdown with CAC member Sourav Ganguly after his candidature was rejected last time. Shastri had accused Ganguly of not being present when he had given his interview via skype. Ganguly on the other hand had criticised Shastri for not meeting the CAC in person.
While Kohli clearly wants Shastri back, the CAC will surely not be too comfortable with the idea as the trio of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman had picked Kumble over Shastri a year back. But a member of the SC-appointed Committee of Administrators has made it clear that it is the job of the CAC to pick the ideal candidate and the COA has complete faith in their abilities.
"Issues and rifts are not bigger than Indian cricket. We have handed the job of picking the suitable candidate to three men who have always had Indian cricket's best interest on their mind and we feel that whoever they pick will be the best person for the job,” the source said.
In fact, the COA had already told CricketNext on Wednesday that Shastri could still be approached for the job if the CAC wish to consider him for the post.
“The doors are open for Shastri if the CAC wants to interview him. As per the current rules, Shastri is not eligible because he has not submitted his resume. But the CAC has the authority to request the BCCI to allow the interview of candidates from the outside who they deem fit for the position. For that to happen, all the CAC will need to do is submit a special request. But all this can happen only if the CAC wants. If they are happy to interview just those who have applied, then obviously the door is closed for Shastri.
“It is not something new or unheard of. It happens not only in big corporates, but also in top government positions wherein people from the outside are also interviewed in certain cases. At the end of the day, it is for the CAC to decide what is best for Indian cricket and if they feel the man who can do the job is Shastri, then why not,” the official explained.
Surely the game is far from over and it could well be Shastri who has the last laugh, having been refused the job last year.
Live Score, News & WC 2019 Updates