Shas­tri hot favourite to be new In­dia coach

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

For­mer skip­per Ravi Shas­tri has emerged as the front-run­ner to be the new coach of In­dia, but a fi­nal de­ci­sion re­mains on hold un­til cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli has been con­sulted. Shas­tri, 55, was among five high-pro­file can­di­dates in­ter­viewed on Mon­day for the post left va­cant by ex-Test cap­tain Anil Kum­ble, who re­signed amid dif­fi­cul­ties over his re­la­tion­ship with Kohli which he de­scribed as “un­ten­able”.

An ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee of Sachin Ten­dulkar, Sourav Gan­guly and VVS Lax­man has been tasked with se­lect­ing the new coach to head the world’s num­berone ranked Test team. The crick­et­ing greats con­sid­ered pre­sen­ta­tions from Shas­tri, Viren­der Se­hwag, Aus­tralia’s Tom Moody, English­man Richard Py­bus and for­mer In­dia man­ager Lalc­hand Ra­jput.

But af­ter a gru­elling round of in­ter­views the com­mit­tee de­cided there was “no hurry” to name the coach, and felt Kohli should be con­sulted be­fore the fi­nal de­ci­sion was made.

Spec­u­la­tion has been rife that Shas­tri, who served as In­dia’s team di­rec­tor be­tween 2014 and 2016, is on friendly terms with Kohli and will there­fore get the nod. “All mem­bers of the In­dian cricket team are in favour of crick­eter-turned-com­men­ta­tor Shas­tri tak­ing over the role,” re­ported The Times of In­dia yes­ter­day. “All 15 mem­bers of the team are unan­i­mous on this. It’s not even 14-1,” the daily re­ported, cit­ing an un­named mem­ber of the In­dian cricket team. Gan­guly told re­porters that Kohli would be briefed on the de­vel­op­ments once the team re­turned from their lim­ited-overs tour of the West Indies. “Sri Lanka tour is in a week’s time, the board headed by (sec­re­tary) Amitabh Choud­hary and (chief ex­ec­u­tive) Rahul Johri will prob­a­bly con­tinue with the same set for the time be­ing,” said Gan­guly.

“We want to speak to Vi­rat Kohli once he is back from Amer­ica, all three of us along with the re­spec­tive peo­ple con­cerned. “We will ex­plain to him 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.”

Kohli made no rec­om­men­da­tion for who should fill the coach­ing role, Gan­guly added, which would run un­til the World Cup in 2019. Shas­tri, who has rep­re­sented In­dia in 80 Tests and 150 one-day in­ter­na­tion­als be­tween 1981 and 1992, orig­i­nally ap­plied when a one-year con­tract to coach In­dia was made avail­able in 2016.

A de­ci­sion by In­dia’s cricket board to al­low Shas­tri to in­ter­view via Skype while on hol­i­day at the time an­gered Gan­guly, who com­plained pub­licly about the se­lec­tion process. Shas­tri was then pipped to the post by Kum­ble. —AFP

Ravi Shas­tri

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