India news May 22, 2016

BCCI opens application process for head coach

BCCI president Anurag Thakur praised Ravi Shastri and his staff for doing a 'good job in the past' © Getty Images

The BCCI has set June 10 as the deadline for candidates to apply for the role of India's head coach. An interim coaching staff is likely to be put in place for the limited-overs series in Zimbabwe in June, with the aim of appointing new long-term coaches by the time Virat Kohli's team reaches the Caribbean for a four-Test series against West Indies, scheduled for July-August.

The contracts of team director Ravi Shastri, batting coach Sanjay Bangar, bowling coach B Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar - who had comprised India's coaching staff since the ODI series in England in 2014 - expired after the World T20 in March.

In 2015, the BCCI had appointed a three-man advisory committee comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman to look for a head coach. That panel panel was disbanded when Ganguly took over as president of the Cricket Association of Bengal. It is understood that the BCCI failed to find a suitable replacement for Ganguly, thus stalling the coach-selection process.

"We will advertise for the post of coach today," Anurag Thakur said at his first media briefing after being elected BCCI president on Sunday. "And by June 10 anyone who is willing to take up post of coach, they can apply to the BCCI. The candidate will be finalised after that."

Thakur said the BCCI was looking for a long-term coaching staff with the 2019 World Cup as the team's main goal. "Currently our team is No. 2 in Test and T20, and No. 4 in ODIs and women's cricket. We will take every step or whatever is possible to make Team India No.1 in all forms of cricket."

Asked to explain the delay in appointing a head coach, Thakur said: "If you have to go for the best you can't go with limited choices. So we are keeping it open."

Thakur also said the previous members of the coaching staff - Shastri, Bangar, Arun and Sridhar - were all eligible to apply for the job. "Of course, yes. It is open for everyone whether [it is] the current support staff, [or] from outside India or within India, anyone who is keen to be a coach with Indian team or take other responsibilities - bowling, batting, fielding coach or the head coach - all these positions would be available."

Thakur also praised Shastri and his specialist staff, saying they had done a "good job in the past and the team had performed well under their leadership".

According to Ajay Shirke, who was appointed BCCI secretary during its special general meeting on Sunday, the BCCI's call for applications was an extension of its recently launched "transparency initiative". "We are just widening the net so that everybody feels they can be part of the Indian coaching staff if they are judged to be the best," Shirke said.

Asked if the team director's position would be done away with, or whether it would remain in conjunction with a head coach and other support staff, Thakur said the BCCI would make a decision based on the number of applications it received. "Once we see how many people are interested in taking up that job, what is the talent available and who could be the best coach for Indian cricket team then you can take the final decision after that."

Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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