India head coach appointment put on hold

It appears that the CAC members did not come to a unanimous choice, which means neither Shastri nor Sehwag was a clear favourite among Indians. A BCCI official said: “It’s between Shastri and Moody."

The CAC, which has Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman as members, feel it would take a bit more time to zero in on a new coach for Team India.   -  AFP

The announcement of the name of the Head Coach for the Indian team has been held in abeyance until such a time the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) members—Sourav Ganguly,  Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman—and the BCCI office bearers consult certain coaching related issues with the captain Virat Kohli. And probably take his consent.

The CAC interviewed five candidates—Virender Sehwag, Ravi Shastri, Lalchand Rajput, Tom Moody and Richard Pybus—at the Cricket Centre here on Monday in person and via Skype. And at the end of a four hour selection process that included power-point presentations and interview segments, it appears that the three did not come to a unanimous choice, which means neither Shastri nor Sehwag was a clear favourite among Indians. A BCCI official said: “It’s between Shastri and Moody.’’

The CAC doesn’t want to be seen divided on the important issue of finding the most suitable person for the position of the Head Coach of the Indian team, especially following the circumstances that forced Anil Kumble to step back after the ICC Champions Trophy in England. Kohli had a run in with Kumble and the CAC doesn’t want a similar situation confronting Indian cricket after six months.

The BCCI’s acting secretary, Amitabh Choudhary, invited Ganguly to announce the CAC’s decision and the former India captain explained: “Whatever I say I take Laxman into confidence, and I take Sachin into confidence. The decision we all three have taken is that we have interviewed all the prospective candidates except Phil Simmons, who was not available today for the interview.

“What we have decided is that we will hold on for the time being, the announcement of the coach. We need a few days more and talk to a few more, especially the captain and then make the announcement because we feel that there is no hurry at the moment (to name the Head Coach). There is a Sri Lankan tour coming in a week’s time and the Board will probably continue with the same set (that was in place for the West Indies tour) for the time being.’’

Ganguly made it a point to say that “the CAC, along with respective people concerned, would talk to Kohli, after he returns home from USA.’’

He further said: “We will explain to him (Kohli) that the coaches want to function in a certain way and make sure that everybody is on the same page before we make the announcement, because once we make the announcement it has to be till the World Cup.  To be honest, what we heard from the coaches today is nothing different from what we heard last year and the way things have gone. They have been outstanding, especially some of the names which we have been discussing about. I was especially surprised and happy when we heard about how they want to go about the job. So from that point of view, we will have everybody on the same page and take a call in the due course of time.’’

When asked if the BCCI will be able to announce the name before the start of the Test series in Sri Lanka, Ganguly said: “We are not in a hurry. We are not only looking at the Sri Lanka tour because Sri Lanka is a long tour. What is important for us is that we are not going to play—it is the coach and the captain, and we are just part of it. We want to make sure that everybody is in synchronization with the way forward for  Indian cricket. We shouldn’t be seeing again six months down the line something different.’’

Ganguly went out of the way to say that Kohli  is an important cog in the  system. “I was captain, and Laxman was one of the best in the world, so we understand where it goes. We can’t say what is right because nobody knows what is right or wrong. The selection process has been concluded. As I said we need to speak to people who matter, people who will take it away from us. You got to give credit to Virat that he is just completely straight about it. He had no inputs, he has not sent any names, but we feel  that he is the captain which is the most important thing in cricket. He and everyone of us need to be on the same page because for us, Indian cricket is more important. We are just a small bit, the main bit is the players who are going to play with the coach. Virat needs to understand how the coaches also operate. We have not identified the candidate;  we have just listened to all of them. What we say here is honest and nothing changes.’’