Tue, 24 Sep 2019

Ravi Shastri to continue as India head coach

ESPNCricInfo
17 Aug 2019, 00:42 GMT+10

10:24 AM ET

Ravi Shastri will remain head coach of the senior India men's team, with his new contract extending up to the 2021 T20 World Cup in India.

The BCCI's Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) spent much of Friday interviewing five candidates for head coach, with a sixth - Phil Simmons - pulling out of the race earlier in the day. The CAC rated the candidates on five separate categories - coaching philosophy, experience, achievements, communication, and "knowledge of modern coaching tools" - and Shastri emerged the winner.

The three members of the CAC - former India captain Kapil Dev, former India coach Anshuman Gaekwad and former India women captain Shanta Rangaswamy - agreed "unanimously" to retain Shastri's services, Kapil announced, with Mike Hesson, the former New Zealand and Kings XI Punjab coach, and Tom Moody, the former Sri Lanka and Sunrisers Hyderabad coach, coming a close second and third respectively.

Apart from Shastri, Hesson and Moody, the CAC also interviewed Robin Singh, who has coached at four-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians and was formerly India's fielding coach, and Lalchand Rajput, India's manager during their victorious World T20 campaign in 2007 and more recently coach of Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. Hesson, Robin and Rajput made their presentations to the CAC in person, while Moody and Shastri - who is with the India team in the West Indies - appeared via teleconference.

The interviews for the remainder of India's backroom staff will commence next week, tentatively from August 19-22. India's senior selection panel, led by MSK Prasad, was supposed to pick the head coach's support staff, as per the BCCI's new constitution, but ESPNcricinfo understands that the CAC wanted to have a say, and expressed its interest and wrote to the BCCI requesting to be involved in the process.

The contracts of Shastri and his earlier support staff were meant to expire at the end of the 2019 World Cup, but they were given a 45-day extension keeping in mind the ongoing West Indies tour. Ahead of the team's departure for the Caribbean, India captain Virat Kohli made a public announcement that he would prefer if Shastri were to continue as head coach.

When Shastri was appointed in July 2017, the CAC at the time - comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman - had consulted Kohli during the selection process. This time, the CAC did not seek Kohli's opinion on the matter.

"Absolutely not," Kapil said, when asked if the CAC had been in touch with Kohli before it made its pick. "If we had asked him, we would have had to ask the whole team their opinion too."

The previous CAC had also tried to sort out the differences between Kohli and Anil Kumble, who had stepped down as head coach in fractious circumstances before Shastri's 2017 appointment. It subsequently emerged that Kohli had refused to budge in that instance, which eventually resulted in Kumble opting to walk away.

Shastri first joined India's backroom staff as team director during the 2014 tour of England, and remained director in the absence of a head coach, when Duncan Fletcher's tenure ended after the 2015 World Cup. Shastri was out of the set-up when Kumble became head coach in June 2016, but returned as head coach after Kumble's resignation.

Since then, Shastri has overseen Test match wins in South Africa and England, and a maiden Test series win in Australia, in 2017-18. Under Shastri, India most recently reached the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup in the UK, topping the round-robin phase of the tournament before exiting with a loss to New Zealand.

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