It was almost 15 years ago that the Indian cricket board, embarrassed by a match-fixing scandal, appointed a foreigner as the national coach for the first time. The same season, a young Sourav Ganguly was named India captain.
Since then, Indians have only managed to hold temporary positions or work as specialised coaches with a foreigner at the helm.
But, that may be about to change. Credited with turning the Indian team into a fighting machine, 42-year-old Ganguly was being considered for the job of India coach, officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India said.
Ganguly, a joint secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal, met BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya in Kolkata. “There was a meeting. I can’t disclose details but the issue was raised. It’s still early to say what will happen,” an official close to Dalmiya said. The BCCI chief refused comment.
Another former player, Ravi Shastri, is also in the running to replace Duncan Fletcher whose term ended when India lost to Australia in the semifinal of the World Cup in March.
India tour Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the coming months, but the BCCI doesn’t want to rush into a decision. No foreigner has been approached for the job, so far. The board would look overseas only if Ganguly and Shastri refuse, sources said.
An Indian coach would do a lot of good to the team which is young. Respected for his cricketing acumen and achievements, Ganguly would be a good role model, sources said.
Australia have risen from the dumps under former player Darren Lehmann, seen more as a mentor than a nuts and bolts coach. India do not travel well, especially outside the sub-continent, and the BCCI wants to change that by bringing in a home coach. However, it remains to be seen how keen Ganguly, who wants to be an administrator, is.
A former BCCI technical committee head, the former captain is a member of the IPL governing council and also has a lucrative TV commentator’s job.
Team director since 2014 one-day series in England, Shastri is credited with helping Dhoni’s boys put behind winless three months to be among the final four at the World Cup. “Ganguly and Shastri are being considered. Both could be asked to present their case though I’m not sure if Ganguly is ready to accept the job,” a BCCI official said.
The last Indian to hold the position was Kapil Dev, for about two years, before New Zealand’s John Wright came on board in 2000.