Strict BCCI criteria add to coach selection intrigue
The Indian cricket board (BCCI) on Tuesday released the eligibility criteria for those applying for the Indian team’s coaching and support staff posts, though the question who will select them remains unanswered. The tenure of the current coaching staff, headed by Ravi Shastri, ended with the World Cup in England, but they have been given extensions until the end of the West Indies tour starting early next month and finishing in the first week of September.
The CoA says selection of the new coaching and support staff will be done as per the new Board constitution. “There is the constitution. It (selection method) is given there. We will have someone selecting them, the appropriate authorities. It is all under process. I can’t give you the names (who will select). Of course, the CoA will not select. The process will be legal, as per the constitution,” said Lt Gen (retd) Ravi Thodge, a CoA member. As per the BCCI constitution, selection of the head coach is to be done by the Cricket Advisory Committee while the other support staff members will be selected by the BCCI CEO (Rahul Johri). Rule number 24(5), which details the CEO’s functions, says it includes the task “to appoint team officials for the Indian teams which shall compulsorily include qualified coaches, managers, physiotherapists, nutritionists, trainers, analysts, counsellors and medics. However, the head coach of each of the national teams shall be appointed by the Cricket Advisory Committee.”
But members of the CAC—Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly—are facing conflict of interest allegations with Laxman even offering to resign from the panel. They have had hearings before the BCCI Ethics Officer, Justice (retd) DK Jain. With their tenure also not clear, they are unlikely to pick the head coach, leaving the Board to probably select a new CAC. However, that can be done only at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). One of the points in rule number 26 mentions CAC as “..comprising reputed former international cricketers identified by BCCI at the Annual General Meeting..”
The AGM, which will pick the new CAC, can be held only on October 22 when elections for office-bearers are held.
Strength and conditioning coach Shankar Basu and physiotherapist Patrick Farhart have left as their terms ended with the World Cup. The coaching staff comprising Shastri, batting coach Sanjay Bangar, fielding coach R Sridhar and bowling coach Bharat Arun, are likely to re-apply. The last time the head coach’s post was advertised was in 2016 when Anil Kumble was picked. There was no criterion about the number of matches played or years coached.
This time though there is fixed yardstick for all seven posts—head coach, batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach and administrative manager. Interestingly, the current bunch fulfils the criteria. One of the three criteria for batting and bowling coaches says the applicant must have played 10 Tests or 25 ODIs or must be a Level 3 coach. Bangar makes the grade having played 12 Tests (15 ODIs). Arun (2 Tests, 4 ODIs) doesn’t fulfil the playing criteria, but he is a Level 3 coach.
The coaches need to be below 60, a condition which all four, including fielding coach R Sridhar, fulfil.
Former India skipper Anil Kumble can’t re-apply for head coach as he had held that post for just one year (2016-17). The requirement is for at least two years as head coach of a national team or three years as head coach of the A team or first-class team or a team of IPL or any other franchise league. Rahul Dravid, who qualifies as he has coached India A/junior sides for three years, has just been made National Cricket Academy (NCA) director and may not apply. IPL coaches Stephen Fleming and Gary Kirsten fulfil the criteria.