Former India allrounder Sanjay Bangar has been named the head coach of the Royal Challengers Bangalore for the next two IPL seasons. Bangar, who had joined Royal Challengers as their batting consultant for IPL 2021, takes over from Mike Hesson.
Hesson was filling in for Simon Katich after the Australian had stepped down before the UAE leg of IPL 2021 citing personal reasons. Hesson will continue in his original role as director of cricket operations. Meanwhile, Royal Challengers, who lost to Knight Riders in the eliminator of IPL 2021, will be on the hunt for a new captain as well after Virat Kohli stepped down at the end of the season.
Bangar was India's batting coach from 2014 before being replaced by Vikram Rathour in 2019. He also has prior coaching experience in the IPL: He was Kings XI Punjab's assistant coach in 2014 before being promoted to head coach during the season, but he stepped down from the role in December 2016. He was also the batting coach of the now-defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
Bangar, who represented India in 12 Tests and 15 ODIs 2001 and 2004, also played for Deccan Chargers and Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2008 and 2009 editions of the IPL. In all, he featured 33 T20s before his retirement in 2013.
"I have worked with some exceptional and talented members in the squad and can't wait to take this team to the next level," Bangar said in a statement issued by the franchise. "There's a lot of work that needs to be done with the IPL mega auctions and the season following it, but I'm sure that together with the continued support of the management and the support staff, we can deliver the goods and bring cheer to our fans across the globe.
"Our work has already begun in terms of our auction strategies and retentions and all of that. So all our scouting teams, all the coaches have already put their heads together and have started to work in the right earnest. I would like to assure each one of the RCB fans that we are committed to build a strong franchise and we are committed to achieve the long-cherished dream of RCB to win an IPL championship."
Hesson said Bangar was the "standout candidate" among those the franchise interviewed for the post.
"Since the conclusion of the IPL, it's a process we've been working through," Hesson said in a video on Royal Challengers' YouTube channel. Obviously, we've been through interviews. I've been really pleased with the people and the quality of candidates that we've spoken to but in the end, Sanjay was a standout candidate. He is really highly respected as a coach, primarily known as a batting coach but certainly has far more expertise than just that.
"Sanjay is very good at building relationships with players. He does that through his expert knowledge and is able to build those relationships over time with players and support staff, which is a key element that we're obviously looking forward to in terms of growing our group and developing our group at RCB into real title contenders, not only next year but in the years to follow as well.
Royal Challengers now need to decide on the players they want to retain ahead of the mega auction. The teams can choose from two different combinations while picking their four players to retain: three Indians and one overseas, or two Indians and two overseas. Hesson said the internal discussions around that had already begun.
"We're all well aware that 2020 will be a mega auction, so there's obviously plenty of work that needs to take place for RCB between now and when that auction occurs in the new year. One of the major parts of that is obviously retention and there's been plenty of discussions internally around that and the flow-on effects that they will have leading into our purse at the mega auction.
"With Sanjay being appointed to his role of head coach, he will obviously be heavily involved in those discussions in the future. It's a very inclusive process, there's a lot of discussions that will need to take place over the coming weeks, and indeed months, once the retentions have been decided. But exciting times ahead, exciting to have Sanjay on board to work with the rest of our support staff and coaching team obviously planning for RCB into year '22 and beyond."