Bharat Arun back as India’s bowling coach, Ravi Shastri has his way

India national cricket team’s head coach Ravi Shastri was given his preferred team after meeting BCCI officials, leaving the roles of Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan uncertain.

cricket Updated: Jul 19, 2017 12:23 IST
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Board of Control for Cricket in India,Ravi Shastri,Bharat Arun
Ravi Shastri got his preferred team of Bharat Arun (pictured) and Sanjay Bangar, leaving Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan’s future in limbo. (YouTube)

The drama over appointing the Indian team’s support staff culminated on Tuesday with head coach Ravi Shastri having his way as the cricket board recalled Bharat Arun as bowling coach.

Batting coach Sanjay Bangar was elevated to assistant coach and R Sridhar retained as fielding coach. The BCCI said all Indian team staff will be contracted until the 2019 World Cup.

The decision taken at a meeting Shastri had with BCCI’s four-member panel however seemed to ignore the recommendation of the Cricket Advisory Committee of Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman that Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan be brought on board.

Zaheer’s likelihood of accepting the bowling consultant’s job looks slim after riders were attached to his role on Tuesday.

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Hindustan Times has learnt that Zaheer and Dravid (batting consultant) will not be allowed to travel overseas with the team despite having recommended by the advisory panel for that purpose.

“There is no change in their brief. However, they will not be travelling with the team for the overseas tours. They can guide the players when they are playing in India or practicing here as the scope of making a difference is greater. There is no need for them to travel abroad,” a source told HT. Zaheer will also have to forgo his IPL contract and TV commentator’s job.

“As per the conflict of interest guidelines, no one will be allowed multiple contracts. Zaheer too will have to do away with his Delhi Daredevils contract. It will be applicable to everyone who is associated with the Indian team. So, all the support staff members too will have to end their association with IPL teams,” said the source.

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Tuesday’s meeting also decided that Zaheer won’t be compensated as per his IPL contract for the number of days he is with the Indian team. “He would be at the most required for 30 to 40 days in a year and the BCCI cannot match his IPL contract for just these many days. It is up to him to decide now,” said the source.

Dravid’s and Zaheer’s appointments will also depend on the talks they hold with BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary and CEO Rahul Johri.

Shastri though is confident Dravid and Zaheer will come on board. “I’ve spoken to both, as recent as three to four days ago, and they are two fantastic cricketers of India. Their inputs will be invaluable. They will be on board once they have spoken to the authorities concerned,” Shastri told a media conference.

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Choudhary denied criticism over the handling of the issue. “In the first place, I am absolutely clear in my view that it was not a fiasco,” he said. “As Ravi explained, once he was appointed head coach, he obviously had to think of his responsibilities which come with the appointment. As he has made abundantly clear, he wanted his core team. The other two gentlemen (Dravid and Zaheer) he has spoken to personally, (and) they will be consultants.”

On whether Dravid’s and Zaheer’s contracts will involve a fixed number of days, Shastri said: “That they will speak. It all depends on the individuals, how many days they want to give. But their inputs will be invaluable and they’re most welcome. And I’ve spoken to both gentlemen personally.”

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Arun returns after a year, like Shastri. He was appointed first when Shastri took over as team director during the 2014 England tour.

Shastri said he had always been clear about his team. “I was in England. I was watching tennis. I was very clear in my mind what my core team will be. What you just heard is my core team.”

First Published: Jul 18, 2017 23:28 IST