Following a recommendation from India coach Ravi Shastri, Bharat Arun has been named the side's bowling coach. The appointment came after a meeting between Shastri and a four-member BCCI committee, where it was also decided that Sanjay Bangar will be the team's assistant coach.
The appointments mean Shastri will work with the same set of coaches - including fielding coach R Sridhar - who assisted him in his earlier tenure as team director. India's support staff have all been given two-year contracts, until the end of the 2019 World Cup. Arun, as a result, will now have to give up his coaching roles in the IPL and the Tamil Nadu Premier League in accordance with the new conflict-of-interest guidelines. Arun, who has been a bowling coach with Royal Challengers Bangalore since 2015, was recently named coach of VB Thiruvallur Veerans in the TNPL.
Shastri also confirmed that Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan will be on board as consultants. "I have spoken to both the individuals as good as three or four days ago," Shastri told reporters after the meeting. "They are fantastic cricketers for India, and their inputs will be invaluable. They will be on board once they have spoken to the authorities concerned, so there are no issues on that."
The committee comprising BCCI CEO Rahul Johri (convener), acting board president CK Khanna, acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary, and Diana Edulji, member of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), was created to resolve the ambiguity over the roles of Dravid and Zaheer. While the BCCI's press release on July 11 stated that they were "appointed" overseas Test batting consultant and bowling consultant respectively, CoA chairman Vinod Rai said those were only recommendations that needed action from the CoA "in consultation with the head coach".
When asked if the confusion could have been avoided, Shastri said: "I was in England. I was watching tennis. I was very clear in my mind what my core team will be. What you just heard is my core team." It is understood that Shastri had clearly expressed his preference for Arun, his team-mate from Under-19 and India days, in his meeting with Johri on Monday. Choudhary put up an equally emphatic yet unconvincing defence of how the episode had unfolded.
"In the first place, I am absolutely clear in my view that it was not a fiasco," he said. "As Ravi explained, once he was appointed head coach, he obviously had to think of his responsibilities which come with the appointment. As he has made abundantly clear, he wanted his core team. The other two gentlemen [Dravid and Zaheer] he has spoken to personally, [and] they will be consultants." When asked why the BCCI announced their appointments when it was still only a recommendation, Choudhary said: "I think what I just said answers the question. Nothing more needs to be said".
Sourav Ganguly, a member of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) that appointed Shastri, Dravid and Zaheer, was recently quoted as saying that Zaheer was contracted for 150 days a year. To a question on whether the CAC had exceeded its brief, both Choudhary and Shastri sprung to the three-member body's defence. "I don't think this question is relevant at all," Choudhary said. "The CAC has done a fantastic job. I have been witness to this for the last one and a half months".
Shastri thanked the committee comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Ganguly and VVS Laxman for reposing faith in him. "I would like to thank the CAC because it is a privilege and an honour to be the head coach of the Indian cricket team and I would like to thank them for thinking I am worthy enough to do the job," he said on Tuesday.
Australia's Patrick Farhart and Shankar Basu also retained their positions as physio and trainer respectively, for the same two-year period until the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup.
With the BCCI having invited applications for a full-time team manager, there was a question on whether an appointment would be made for the Sri Lanka tour. Despite the team set to leave on July 19, Choudhary said there was "every likelihood" that a manager would be named for the tour.