- Shastri was team director of the Indian cricket team from August 2014 to April 2016
- Shastri succeeds Kumble who stepped down after the ICC Champions Trophy final
- Shastri has been appointed till 2019 ICC World Cup
NEW DELHI: Former India allrounder and captain Ravi Shastri, who was team director of the Indian men’s cricket team from August 2014 to April 2016, has been appointed as head coach for a two-year period until the end of the 2019 ICC World Cup.
Having initially not applied for the post, but belatedly joining the fray once the BCCI extended the deadline to accept applications until July 9, the 55-year-old beat out a list of applicants comprising former India opener Virender Sehwag, former Sri Lanka coach and current coach of IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad Tom Moody, current Afghanistan coach Lalchand Rajput and former Pakistan and Bangladesh coach and director of West Indies cricket Richard Pybus.
The news came a day after the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) announced that it would seek Indian captain Virat Kohli‘s inputs before announcing the man to replace Anil Kumble in the most high-profile coaching role in the sport. Addressing a press conference after a nearly six-hour interview process with the five aforementioned candidates at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai on Monday, CAC member Sourav Ganguly had said that Kohli, who is currently out of the country, had to be apprised of their decision before the next coach could be revealed.
Ganguly and VVS Laxman sat together inside the Wankhede Stadium while Sachin Tendulkar joined via video conference from the UK. Barring Sehwag, none of the applicants was physically present at the BCCI headquarters, instead of being interviewed over Skype.
This marks an eventful return to the Indian cricket team setup for Shastri, who last June was overlooked by the CAC for Anil Kumble, and subsequently had a public spat with Ganguly. At the time, Shastri alleged that Ganguly had not been present when he was interviewed via Skype, to which Ganguly replied that Shastri should have taken the interview more seriously and been in India to apply in person before the CAC.
The news of Shastri’s appointment as head coach will not surprise many, given his work as team director for an 18-month period and the relationship he shares with Kohli and other members of the team. The former all-rounder turned TV commentator and analyst, who played 80 Tests and 150 ODIs and led India in one Test, was brought in by the BCCI in August 2014 as team director in England following defeat in the Tests. Shastri’s term – and that of his three assistant coaches, Sanjay Bangar Bharat Arun and R Sridhar – was extended until the end of the 2015 World Cup by the BCCI working committee, and then again until the end of the World Twenty20 in March-April last year. Under Shastri, the Indian team made it to the semi-final stage of five consecutive global tournaments, rose to No 1 in the ICC Test rankings for eight weeks and beat Australia in Australia in a landmark 3-0 T20I series.
Last month, Shastri threw his name into contention for the vacant coach’s role after the BCCI, in the aftermath of Kumble’s resignation, decided to invite more applicants despite criticism by the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators.