It is not often that we see the support staff members being equal in number to the Indian cricket team. While the selectors picked a 17-member squad for the four-Test tour of the West Indies, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have sent support staff of equal strength to cater to the players.
There are currently 17 members accompanying Virat Kohli & Co in the Caribbean. This is despite head coach Anil Kumble doubling up as the bowling coach.
An official, who was part of the Indian team for high-profile assignments in the recent past, was amused to learn about the strength of the contingent travelling with the team to Caribbean. “This is quite a lot. Less than a year ago, we would not have more than 10 to 12 support staff members,” he told HT.
BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke remained unavailable for comment. A BCCI official explained the possible reason behind sending such a large support staff. “The sport is becoming very professional. You cannot leave anything for granted. Yoga is a new thing introduced for the team. With the sport developing at a rapid pace, the onus is on the backroom staff to prepare the players and keep them stress-free for every assignment. Indian team is a professional unit now,” said an official.
But another senior BCCI member called it a new trend in sport. “It has become a fashion these days to have a big support staff… all major international teams have it. Don’t be surprised to see more members in the backroom than the players in future. With the rising demands, there is a possibility of players wanting their individual support staff for tours in the future,” he said.
There are two masseurs, a trainer, an assistant trainer apart from a yoga trainer. The contingent also included the chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil and his co-selector Vikram Rathour.
The break-up of the support staff is as follows: 1: Anil Kumble (head coach) 2: Sanjay Bangar (batting coach) 3: Abhay Sharma (fielding coach) 4: Arun Kanade (massage therapist) 5: Rajeev Kimar (massage therapist) 6: Manoj Kumar (yoga trainer) 7: Shankar Basu (trainer) 8: Patrick Farhat (physio) 9: Raghu Srinivasan (assistant trainer) 10: Rishikesh Upadhyay (logistics manager) 11: Rtd Major Manvinder Bali (security manager) 12: Asish Tuli (video analyst) 13: Nishant Arora (media manager) 14: Moulin Parikh (assistant media manager) 15: Riyaz Bagban (administrative manager) 16: Sandeep Patil (chief national selector) 17: Vikram Rathour (national selector)