In the frame
Although the Board of Control for Cricket in India has not come up with a shortlist of any kind for the man likely to replace Greg Chappell, certain names have been doing the rounds in the media over the last couple of weeks.
After a highly successful stint that culminated in Sri Lanka winning the World Cup, Dav Whatmore took on the most thankless coaching job in international cricket. He has stuck to his guns in Bangladesh cricket, taking them from being a group of individuals who very occasionally shone but never collectively succeeded to an outfit that can now beat even the best on its day. Pakistan suffered at their hands in the 1999 World Cup, Australia were beaten in Cardiff in 2005, and less then three weeks ago India's World Cup dreams were shattered. Whatmore, though Australian, has demonstrable success with subcontinental teams. What's more, he has expressed his interest in the job. "I would like to coach Indian team," Whatmore told the media.
Tom Moody was the first choice of many senior Indian cricketers, Rahul Dravid included, when Chappell was given the job. Given the success he has had with Sri Lanka - a cricketing country whose board and administration are in more of a shambles than India - he will be someone the BCCI is looking at seriously if they go to a foreign coach once more. His contract with Sri Lanka ends after the World Cup, and Moody has firmly said that he was, at the moment, looking no further than that. It has been suggested that he might return to Australia to coach Western Australia, although the temptation of coaching a high-profile team like India, if the terms were right, may be too much to resist.
It's such a left-field suggestion that most were taken by surprise when Sunil Gavaskar's name was revealed as one of the men being considered for the position of Indian coach. In the past Gavaskar had been too busy with television commentary commitments to take up the Indian coaching job on a full-time basis, although he has worked as consultant on occasion. In the last few days a school of thought has emerged that Gavaskar could be persuaded to take up the job in the interests of Indian cricket.
If India are looking for a homegrown coach, it doesn't get much more desi than Jimmy Amarnath. One of the contenders for the post when Chappell was appointed, Amarnath walked into his interview proudly displaying the Indian tricolour. Although his coaching experience is limited to rather nondescript stints with Bangladesh and Rajasthan many years ago, his stature as a player - fearless and versatile at his best - means that he has the respect of the players and many of the powers that be in the board.
Sandeep Patil withdrew from the India coaching race, though shortlisted, when it became clear that India were interested in a foreign coach and only interviewed former Indian cricketers to make up the numbers. A successful stint with Kenya, during which they even made it to a World Cup semifinal, although that was aided by permutations and combinations and not entirely through their own effort, has meant that his name crops up every time there is a vacancy. However, it is understood that some senior Indian cricketers are not entirely comfortable working with Patil, and have conveyed this to the board in the past.
He's already been there, done that, and may not even want a second innings as India coach, but John Wright is one person the Indian cricket board could turn to as he already has a rapport with the players and enjoys their respect. Wright has not taken up any coaching assignments since his five-year stint with India which immediately preceded Chappell's term, and has been commentating on television since. India had many high points during Wright's tenure - the epochal Australia series at home in 2001, winning the NatWest challenge in England, the first-ever Test series win in Pakistan, drawing a series in Australia in 2004 - but by the end of his tenure it was believed there was a need for fresh ideas and Chappell was drafted in.
Soon after India's unceremonious exit from the World Cup Sir Vivian Richards, in television interviews and in his column, said India's loss had "less to do with talent and potential and more to do with mental strength." He went one step further and threw his hat into the ring, saying, ""I would certainly like to help India in this aspect of their preparation if asked to. I have always enjoyed a challenge as a player, and would enjoy the challenge of instilling self-belief and confidence in a group of players as talented and promising as the Indians." Whether he meant, by this, that he was prepared to coach the team, is open to interpretation.