The BCCI on Tuesday appointed former all-rounder Ravi Shastri as the director of the Indian team for the ODI series against England, sidelining head coach Duncan Fletcher.
It is not the first time that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has turned to former India skipper Ravi Shastri at a time of crisis. After the first round exit in the 2007 World Cup, Shastri had managed the team for the subsequent tour to Bangladesh.
While a question mark looms over the future of current India coach Duncan Fletcher, the BCCI has taken its first corrective measure in putting Shastri at a supervisory role after the disastrous five Test series in England, that led to a 3-1 defeat of the MS Dhoni-led side.
“In culmination of the discussions among all the office-bearers of the BCCI over the last couple of weeks, the BCCI has decided to avail the services of former India captain, Mr. Ravi Shastri, to oversee and guide the Indian cricket team for the forthcoming one-day international matches against England. Mr. Duncan Fletcher will continue as Head Coach while Ravi Shastri will be the overall in-charge of Cricket affairs of the Indian Team,” said BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel in a release.
Fletcher has come under constant criticism from all corners of the cricket fraternity, including Sunil Gavaskar, for his ineffective methods as coach. Fletcher took over as coach after the 2011 World Cup, beginning one of Indian cricket’s worst phases.
Earlier this year, Fletcher was given a contract extension till 2015 World Cup. The Zimbabwean had met with then BCCI president N Srinivasan ahead of the 2014 World T20 and was reassured of his position as head coach.
According to a source, Fletcher’s role will be assessed only after the tour of England which ends in September.
“It would not be possible to take a decision midway through the tour. If any decision has to be taken, it will be done after the England tour. If the BCCI then feels he is not suitable for the job he could be asked to resign,” said a source.
Meanwhile, the appointment trio of B Arun, Sanjay Bangar and R Sridhar, to assist Fletcher comes on the back of their successful coaching stints. The trio have been appointed in place of bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penney, who have been given a break.
It also the first time since 2009 when Indians are in a coaching role with the team. Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh were previously removed from their roles as bowling and fielding coach after the 2009 Champions Trophy.
“In their continuing efforts to re-energise the support to the team, the BCCI has given a break to the bowling coach Mr. Joe Dawes and the fielding coach, Mr. Trevor Penney, for the one-day series, and appointed Mr. Sanjay Bangar, former Indian all-rounder, and former India fast bowler Mr. Bharat Arun as the Asst. coaches of the team. Mr. R. Sridhar will join the support team as the fielding coach for the one-day series,” said Patel.
B Arun, who played two Tests for India, previously worked at the National Cricket Academy, and is the India under-19 coach apart from managing the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association Academy.
Former India all-rounder and Railways skipper Sanjay Bangar was the only Indian head coach in the Indian Premier League. His side Kings XI Punjab has reached the finals of the tournament while R Sridhar was also with the outfit as fielding coach, before being appointed as the coach of Andhra for the upcoming season.
“These coaches have been doing a lot of good work and now they have got a chance at the higher level,” said the source.