Dawes might not make it to World Cup with India
Bowling coach Joe Dawes is not guaranteed an extension when the contracts of the Indian coaching staff are reviewed after the World Twenty20 in March. The way things stand now, heading into an important BCCI working committee - and things can suddenly change in the BCCI - head coach Duncan Fletcher and fielding coach Trevor Penney are likely to get an extension till the 2015 World Cup, but Dawes could end up paying for India bowlers' mediocre performance away from home. In another big development, an Indian could be appointed assistant coach of the side.
The BCCI's working committee, which will meet in Bhubaneswar on Friday, is set to discuss restructuring the national team's coaching staff. The contracts of Fletcher, Penney and Dawes run out at the end of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. All the coaches have received severe criticism from experts following the team's terrible run away from home - India ended both their tour of South Africa and New Zealand winless.
However, the proximity of the 2015 World Cup is likely to work in favour of Fletcher and Penney. Despite India's solitary win in 15 away Tests under Fletcher, the team's overall record in all formats during his tenure is decent. A BCCI insider confirmed that most of the BCCI bigwigs are "quite happy" with the way Fletcher and Penney have been handling the team.
However Dawes, who came on board at the end of India's disastrous tour to Australia in 2011-12, seems to have lost the confidence of the BCCI top brass with the Indian bowling consistently faltering in various conditions.
The BCCI hasn't been mulling over a like-for-like replacement for Dawes. Instead of a bowling coach, the appointment of an Indian as assistant coach is being discussed. A BCCI insider revealed the move would take into consideration the availability of "top coaches in India now".
"That wasn't the case ten years ago, so we had to resort to foreigners. If the board agrees to appoint an Indian as assistant coach, it is possible we might see an Indian as the head coach in the future," he said.
The last time an Indian was a part of the national team's coaching staff was when Robin Singh and Venkatesh Prasad served as fielding and bowling coach, respectively, in the early days of Gary Kirsten's stint as the India coach. Both Singh and Prasad were unceremoniously sacked in October 2009. Prior to that, former India opener Lalchand Rajput served as the assistant coach before Kirsten took over. After having worked as the cricket manager during the inaugural World Twenty20 in September 2007 and the limited-overs series at home against Australia in October-November 2007, Rajput was appointed the assistant coach for the 2007-08 tour to Australia.
Rajput, now in charge of the BCCI's batting academy, is one of the three frontrunners for the post. The other two candidates that are being considered are former allrounder Sanjay Bangar and former pace bowler Bharat Arun. While Bangar was in charge of the India A squad for the home series against West Indies and New Zealand last year, Arun was the NCA's chief bowling coach for well over two years before he resigned last year. Arun has also been in charge of the India Under-19 team for three years.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo