The hunt for India’s next cricket coach began at a hotel in Kolkata on Tuesday and lasted longer than a day-night game. Or, as is the case since the pink ball has already debuted in India, longer than a full day of a multi-day game beginning in the afternoon.
There was even a break in between when Sourav Ganguly went to attend a meeting of the working committee of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
Ganguly and VVS Laxman are part of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) as is Sachin Tendulkar, who joined his former India teammates via video conference from London. Former India selector Sanjay Jagdale is the CAC’s convenor.
It seemed almost like an Indians against imports’ contest. The Indian applicants --- Anil Kumble, Lalchand Rajput, Pravin Amre and Ravi Shastri --- made the pitch in the afternoon with the foreigners given their slots in the evening after Ganguly returned from fulfilling his obligations at the CAB.
Shastri was hooked up via video conferencing but Kumble, Amre and Rajput, under whom India won their only T20 World Cup in 2007, were present to make their presentations.
Each candidate --- there were 10-12 in all, Ganguly said at Eden on Tuesday ---- was given 20 minutes. Most overshot the time slot; Kumble and Rajput speaking for 45 minutes while Amre, it was learnt, took one hour.
Andy Moles, the former Warwickshire opener and Afghanistan coach, ex-Australia batsman Stuart Law, who has now taken up British citizenship, and Tom Moody too have applied, said Ganguly. Twice World Cup winner Moody coached Sunrisers Hyderabad to the IPL 2016 title, having helmed the team since 2012.
The interviews were conducted on the top floor of a five-star hotel near the city’s zoological garden.
The BCCI had received 57 applications in response to its advertisement for what is probably the most challenging coaching job in international cricket. The list was trimmed to 21 before being further pruned ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.
The CAC is expected to forward its recommendation to board president Anurag Thakur between Tuesday and Thursday. The BCCI hopes to finalise the candidate by June 24 and make the big announcement on the sidelines of its working committee meeting in Dharamsala.
Shastri stepped in as team director after Duncan Fletcher — India’s last coach — left in 2014. The former batting all-rounder’s contract ended with the World T20 in March-April, where India lost to the West Indies in the semi-finals. Under Shastri, India also played the semi-finals of the 50-over World Cup in Australia last year.