Trio of new coaches for In­dia raises eye­brows

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -


A sur­prise de­ci­sion by In­dia’s cricket board to ap­point two high­pro­file stars to as­sist new coach Ravi Shas­tri has some ex­perts won­der­ing how much au­ton­omy the for­mer all-rounder will wield at the helm.

The cricket board ended months of spec­u­la­tion Tues­day in nam­ing Shas­tri to re­place Anil Kum­ble, who re­signed as head of the world’s top Test side fol­low­ing a bitter fall­out with skip­per Vi­rat Kohli. Shas­tri’s ap­point­ment was widely ex­pected but the board’s de­ci­sion to name ex-play­ers Za­heer Khan and Rahul Dravid as bowl­ing and bat­ting con­sul­tants raised eye­brows.

Tra­di­tion­ally, the Board of Con­trol for Cricket in In­dia al­lows the head coach to pick sup­port staff and the break with con­ven­tion did not go un­no­ticed. “The coach has now got ap­pendages. The BCCI has added more ar­se­nal to the sup­port staff,” prom­i­nent cricket com­men­ta­tor and colum­nist Ayaz Me­mon told AFP. “The prob­lem could be of too many peo­ple.” Shas­tri, 55, edged out a host of high­pro­file con­tenders for the top job, in­clud­ing Viren­der Se­hwag, Aus­tralia’s Tom Moody, English­man Richard Py­bus and for­mer In­dia man­ager Lalc­hand Ra­jput.

Spec­u­la­tion had been rife that Shas­tri, who served as In­dia’s team di­rec­tor be­tween 2014 and 2016, would get the nod, espe­cially given his friendly ties with Kohli.

“If Dravid bat­ting con­sul­tant and Za­heer bowl­ing coach, is Shas­tri more “team di­rec­tor” again?” wrote lead­ing In­dian com­men­ta­tor Har­sha Bhogle on Twit­ter.

Crick­eter-turned com­men­ta­tor Aakash Cho­pra sug­gested Shas­tri’s new role dif­fered lit­tle from his old one, say­ing: “only the des­ig­na­tion changes!” A panel tasked by the Supreme Court with over­see­ing the af­fairs of In­dia’s scan­dal­rid­den cricket board ap­peared pleased with the se­lec­tion. “It is a com­pre­hen­sive rec­om­men­da­tion cov­er­ing all as­pects of the coach­ing re­quire­ment of any team,” it said in a state­ment yes­ter­day. “Now that they have made the choice, we sin­cerely feel that the new com­bi­na­tion will stew­ard the team to num­ber one po­si­tion in the World Cup.” Shas­tri’s first as­sign­ment starts later this month when In­dia tours Sri Lanka for three Tests start­ing July 26.

The du­ra­tion of his post, and that of Khan and Dravid, is two years un­til the World Cup in 2019. — AFP

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