Rating the top applicants for India coach's job
In an unprecedented endeavour, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on May 22 released a notification inviting applications from prospective candidates for the post of the Head Coach of the Indian Cricket Team. The post had been lying vacant since the expiry date of the contract of the previous full-time coach, Duncan Fletcher, post the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Since then, Ravi Shastri, the Team Director, and the team of Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun and R Sridhar as the batting, bowling and fielding coaches respectively remained associated with the team for another year. The contracts of all four of the aforementioned gentlemen were not renewed upon their expiry by the BCCI at the conclusion of the ICC World T20 2016 held recently in India.
Hence, the search for a new full-time coach had begun right after India’s semi-final exit from the World T20, and it took some time for the BCCI to decide the procedure through which they intended to select the team’s new coach. In a bid to display transparency and to invite participation from interested candidates, the board invited applications for the post, by pre-declaring the requisite qualifications fixing the deadline for such applications on June 10.
The move proved out to be a resounding success, as it was reported by the board on June 11 that as many as 57 applicants had filed in their names. Amongst the who’s who of the cricketing world, former team director Ravi Shastri, the chairman of selectors Sandip Patil, former cricketers Venkatesh Prasad, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, and Balwinder Sandhu were reported to have applied for the post.
Although the BCCI have not made public any list enumerating those 57 applicants, quite a few of them have openly admitted to the media about their application for the job. Here, in this piece, we analyse some of the applicants’ coaching careers in a quest to decide as to who should be the ideal candidate to coach the Indian Cricket Team, and rate them on a scale of 10.
#6 Venkatesh Prasad : 7/10
Former India fast bowler and the former bowling coach of the Indian Cricket Team, Venkatesh Prasad has been a prominent face in the domestic coaching arena. Post his stint as the bowling coach of the national side, a term that lasted for two years – from 2007 to 2009 – Prasad had coached the Uttar Pradesh Ranji side and was also associated with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. Currently, he is the chairman of the national junior selection committee of the BCCI.
Prasad was a part of the coaching personnel of the team that won the ICC World T20 2007 in South Africa. However, after Gary Kirsten’s appointment as India’s full-time head coach, Eric Simmons replaced the Indian veteran as the bowling coach. Earlier last month, Prasad was also offered the post of the bowling coach of the Bangladesh Cricket Team by the Bangladesh Cricket Board.
The former right-arm fast medium bowler has 292 international wickets to his name and has played 33 Tests and 161 ODIs for India in a career spanning from 1996 to 2001. With his invaluable coaching experience and his association with the Indian domestic circuit through his incumbent position, the 46-year-old may prove out to be one of the favourites for the coveted position when the BCCI’s cricket committee sits down to zero in on the right candidate.