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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

India support staff selection: Batting coach Sanjay Bangar faces the heat

Among the incumbents, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar have emerged favourites to retain their posts.

cricket Updated: Aug 19, 2019 13:03 IST
India's Kedar Jadhav, right, talks to batting coach Sanjay Bangar.
India's Kedar Jadhav, right, talks to batting coach Sanjay Bangar.(AP)

With Ravi Shastri, whose term as head coach was renewed last week, having stressed on retaining Indian support staff, the chances of a foreigner making it looks unlikely when chief selector MSK Prasad’s committee meets on Monday to interview candidates for the batting, bowling and fielding coaches. Among the incumbents, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar have emerged favourites to retain their posts. However, batting coach Sanjay Bangar faces a tough challenge in retaining his post as another former India Test opener Vikram Rathour has emerged a strong contender.

With Shastri’s contract extended till the 2021 World T20, it may be ideal if his support staff too continues given that India have performed well in all three departments during their tenure. The batsmen have dominated in all three formats, the bowling unit is one of the strongest India has ever had while coach Shastri believes India are the best fielding unit in the world.

Also read: Head coach Ravi Shastri names India’s No. 4 for upcoming ODIs

According to sources, the most applications have come for the batting coach’s post. Bangar had in a recent interview to Hindustan Times expressed confidence he has done enough to retain his post. But the pressure on him to keep his job appears immense.

The former India all-rounder has been with the team since 2014 during which India have played 50 Tests and 119 ODIs. In that period, batsmen have scored 69 and 72 centuries respectively.

Rathour, who played six Tests and seven ODIs in the 1990s, however has strong backing. Early this year, he was due to join the India ‘A’ and under-19 team coaching set-up with Rahul Dravid backing his appointment, but could not due to conflict of interest over his brother-in-law, former India spinner Ashish Kapoor, heading the junior selection committee. Recently, he was again among those shortlisted for the post of batting coach at the National Cricket Academy after Dravid took charge as director.

Also read: This is how Indian cricketers reacted on hearing the reappointment of Ravi Shastri as head coach

The other Indian candidates who have applied for the batting coach’s post are Robin Singh, Amol Muzumdar, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Lalchand Rajput, Mithun Manhas and Pravin Amre. Former England batsmen Jonathan Trott and Mark Ramprakash are among the foreigners who have applied for the job.

The biggest competitor to Arun for the bowling coach’s post is Venkatesh Prasad, who held the position from 2007 to 2009. Former India left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi, who was with Bangladesh until the World Cup, is also in the fray.

The only post where the trend of having an Indian can change is for the fielding coach because South African Jonty Rhodes has thrown his hat in the ring. The current fielding coach, Sridhar, has been with the team for five years.

With a large number of candidates to be interviewed—in person or through skype—the process is expected to take three-four days to complete.

In remains to be seen whether the three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy, who picked Shastri, are part of the process as they asked the Committee of Administrators on Friday to give them the job of appointing the support staff as well.

First Published: Aug 18, 2019 22:13 IST