Ending hours of speculation, the BCCI officially confirmed former allrounder and team director Ravi Shastri as the new head coach of the Indian cricket team. Additionally, the board has also hired former pacer Zaheer Khan as the team’s bowling consultant while former captain Rahul Dravid would serve as batting consultant for overseas tours.
“The BCCI announces the appointment of Mr. Ravi Shastri as the Head Coach, Mr. Zaheer Khan as the Bowling Consultant and Mr. Rahul Dravid who will be the Overseas Batting Consultant (Test cricket) for the Indian Cricket Team,” the BCCI confirmed in a media release.
The decision, taken by the Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, was formally announced late on Tuesday (July 11), after the CoA instructed the three-member panel not to defer the announcement further. The trio had interviewed five of the six shortlisted candidates on Monday but later told press that they wanted to consult the captain Virat Kohli too before announcing the decision.
Shastri beat competition from likes of Virender Sehwag, Tom Moody, Richard Pybus and Lalchand Rajput for the coveted job, left vacant after Anil Kumble decided to step aside ahead of the just-concluded West Indies tour owing to Kohli’s reservations against his ‘style’.
Shastri’s return to the side in times like these could be a welcome change, especially given his equation with Kohli and the current crop of players. He initially served as the team director and India enjoyed a bit of success under him between 2014 and 2016 – a period where India reached the semifinals of both the World Cup 2015 and also the World Twenty20 2016.
Zaheer doesn’t have any formal coaching experience, although he’s been a vital part of IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils’ think-tank recently. The former India pacer has also led the franchise in the last two editions. Meanwhile, Dravid recently gave up his post as the Daredevils’ mentor and instead signed a two-year contract as the coach of India A and Under-19 sides. The former skipper was initially hired in the same post in 2016 for a one-year period, during which he led the U19 side to the final of the World Cup.
“(Zaheer) Khan is a contemporary cricketer who assumed the mentoring role to a young fast bowling unit even during his playing days with India. His inputs will be of immense value to our young fast bowlers, who have shown tremendous potential in the last couple of years. As the Indian team is to play Test cricket overseas in the next two years, Rahul Dravid’s expertise as batting consultant will be immensely helpful for youngsters,” BCCI said.
The new coaching staff’s first assignment will be the upcoming series in Sri Lanka, starting July 26.