India's cricket bosses have reacted to the embarrassing Test series defeat to England by ringing in changes among the coaching staff, including appointing former captain Ravi Shastri as the director of cricket for the one-day series coming up. Duncan Fletcher remains the head coach but Shastri has been given the reins of the team.
Team captain MS Dhoni is safe, with officials saying he had the full backing of the board for the entire series.
Further clipping Fletcher's wings, his two assistants, fielding coach Trevor Penney and bowling coach Joe Dawes, have been "given a break" for the one-day series in England. In their place come former India allrounder Sanjay Bangar and former India fast bowler B Arun as assistant coaches. R Sridhar, the former Hyderabad left-arm spinner, will join the support team as the fielding coach for the one day series.
While the BCCI's official press release soft-pedalled the news, saying Shastri would "oversee and guide the Indian cricket team", board secretary Sanjay Patel was more emphatic while talking to ESPNcricinfo. "The team is with Ravi Shastri," he said. "Now it is his baby. He will handle everything."
This is not the first time the BCCI is turning to Shastri during a crisis - he was named the Indian team's cricket manager after an embarrassing first-round exit from the 2007 World Cup.
A BCCI release said: "In their continuing efforts to re-energise the support to the team, the BCCI has given a break to the bowling coach Mr Joe Dawes and the fielding coach, Mr Trevor Penny for the one day series and appointed Mr Sanjay Bangar, former Indian all rounder and former India fast bowler Mr Bharat Arun as the Asst. coaches of the team. Mr R.Sridhar will join the support team as the fielding coach for the one day series."
Dawes, a former Queensland fast bowler, has been India's bowling coach since the 2011-12 Test debacle in Australia, while Penney has been in charge of the fielding after India's victorious 2011 World Cup.
Bangar retired from first-class cricket in 2013 and has since coached India A, and been part of the support staff of various IPL franchises, with his reputation getting it biggest boost after he coached an unfancied Kings XI Punjab to their first IPL final earlier this year.
Sridhar, who began his coaching career in 2001, has been part of the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and was the India Under-19's assistant coach during the World Cup in February in the UAE. He has also worked with Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2014 as the franchise's fielding coach.
Arun, a former Tamil Nadu fast bowler, has overseen India's two previous Under-19s campaigns, including Unmukt Chand's title-winning side in 2012. He was also among the senior coaching staff at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore till he resigned last year.
The developments come a day after BCCI joint-secretary Anurag Thakur had suggested that a former India player should work with Fletcher to guide the team. He had also told PTI: "I would ideally like an Indian support staff to work in tandem with Fletcher, which might help him to prepare better for the future tour."
India tour of England