Ravi Shastri frontrunner as Kapil Dev-led panel gets ready to appoint next India coach

The CAC comprising Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy will interview heavyweight candidates — Ravi Shastri, Tom Moody, Mike Hesson, Phil Simmons, Lalchand Rajput and Robin Singh in Mumbai on Friday.

The Cricket Advisory Committee led by Kapil Dev will meet at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters on Friday to interview the six short-listed candidates for the role of India’s head coach.

The committee comprising Kapil, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy will quiz six heavyweight candidates — Ravi Shastri, Tom Moody, Mike Hesson, Phil Simmons, Lalchand Rajput and Robin Singh.

Shastri, who has been the head coach of the team since 2017, is the frontrunner to retain the post.

Team India coach contenders: How the six CVs stack up

While the process will begin at 10:30 in the morning with Singh — who was previously a support staff in the Indian team — presenting his case, Shastri will be the last one to join via Skype from the Caribbean in the evening. Shastri is on a 45-day extension and is currently in the West Indies with the Indian team.

 

While Moody, Simmons too will appear for the interview via Skype, Hesson is likely to meet the three-member panel and make a presentation about his plans.

“Each candidates will be given around 30 minutes to come up with their presentations,” a top BCCI official said.

Moody had previously applied for the post in 2017 when the then CAC — Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman — had conducted the interviews. Shastri, who was serving as the Team Director then, was appointed the coach.

The team, however, hasn’t won a single ICC tournament in the last two years, though it went on to grab the top position in Tests and won a series in Australia.

“Ravi shares a good rapport with the players and he has played a key role in giving more opportunities to youngsters,” one of the Board officials said.

Before leaving for the West Indies, India captain Virat Kohli had batted for continuing with the current head coach Shastri.

However, the BCCI officials have clarified that the captain’s inputs will not be taken during the interview process. “The CAC has three highly-acclaimed former cricketers and they will zero-in on the candidate and inform the Committee of Administrators directly,” the official said, adding that once Kapil’s committee recommends a name, the CoA will have to approve the name to finalise the process.

Though stakes are high for Shastri, his competitors too have glorious track records.

Moody had coached Sri Lanka to the World Cup final in 2007 while Hesson guided New Zealand to the World Cup final in 2015. West Indies’ Simmons was the head coach of Afghanistan till the World Cup. Even Rajput and Singh have been with the Indian team in the past and helped it clinch the World T20 title in 2007. “Contrary to speculations, we have shortlisted some top names. So, it is still anybody’s game,” the BCCI official said.

While the CAC will select the head coach, MSK Prasad-led national selection committee will interview the candidates for other coaching roles.