Vikram Rathour replaces Sanjay Bangar as India batting coach; Bharat Arun, R Sridhar retained in respective roles
In the end, Sanjay Bangar paid the price for India’s batting failures at crucial moments, including the World Cup semi-final, and was replaced by Vikram Rathour as India’s new batting coach. Bangar, who was with the team since 2014, was under pressure to keep his spot after India lacked a settled No 4 batsman going into the World Cup.
Among the other incumbents, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar retained their spots.
The MSK Prasad-led selection committee announced India’s support staff after interviewing 88 candidates for various posts over four days.
Asked about the decision behind replacing Bangar and not the other two incumbents, Prasad said: “If you see in last five years, there is definitely some improvement (in batting). Looking ahead, with Test championship and two World T20s coming up, we thought there should be some freshness in that department. So, we went with Vikram Rathour as first choice.”
He added: “I don’t believe that (Bangar was made the scapegoat). Let anybody say anything, we conducted the process in an honest manner.”
Just like the Kapil Dev-led CAC announced Ravi Shastri as its No 1 on choice for chief coach’s post followed by Mike Hesson and Tom Moody, the selection committee too followed the same protocol. Bangar emerged as their second choice and former England batting coach Mark Ramprakash third.
Rathour was a top contender going into the interviews. Early this year, Rathour was due to join the India ‘A’ and U-19 coaching set-up with Rahul Dravid, but he 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 NCA after Dravid took charge as its director.
Rahul Johri, BCCI CEO, said conflict shouldn’t be an issue this time. “This was discussed at the CoA meeting too. His brother-in-law is the selector of junior team and he is the batting coach of the senior team. So, I don’t think there is any conflict.”
Prasad felt that Rathour has enough experience to take the batting unit forward. “He was the director at Himachal Pradesh. He was also the Punjab coach. He was also the assistant coach with Kings XI Punjab. So, he has got enough experience. Apart from that, he has also being doing lot of assignments with NCA. So we are convinced with his skill sets and he is our first preference,” said Prasad.
India seamers Paras Mhambrey and Venkatesh Prasad were the second and third choice for bolwing coach and Abhay Sharma and T Dilip for fielding coach. Mumbai Indians’ physio Nitin Patel came back to the India team fold in place of Patrick Farhart, who quit after the World Cup. Girish Dongre will replace Sunil Subramanian as administrative manager. Subramanian was in a soup last week for ‘misbehaving’ with senior officials of the Indian High Commissions in the Caribbean.
Five candidates—Luke Woodhouse, Grant Luden, Rajnikanth Sivagnanam, Nick Webb and Anand Date—were shortlisted for strength and conditioning coach. They will be called to NCA to assess their practical skills under experts before being recruited. The No 2 & 3 choices will be considered for positions with India ‘A’ team and with the NCA. Johri informed: “The new support staff has to be available on September 15.”