Team India’s backroom may soon undergo a total revamp.
Head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and batting coach Vikram Rathour are all set to move on after the T20 World Cup to be held across October-November in the UAE, The Indian Express has learnt.
Shastri has informed some cricket board members that he is planning to part ways with the national team after the tournament when his contract ends, it is learnt. Some of the other support staff, meanwhile, are already in talks with IPL teams.
The cricket board also wants a new group onboard, sources said.
Shastri first took over the team in 2014 as director till the T20 World Cup in 2016 after which Anil Kumble was appointed for a year. He was made the full-time coach in 2017 after India’s defeat in the Champions Trophy final. With Shastri as coach, India won two away series in Australia before reaching the finals of the World Test Championship last month.
Arun was instrumental in making India’s bowling one of the most feared in the world while R Sridhar played a role in the evolution of the team as a sturdy fielding side.
However, India could not land an ICC trophy during their tenure, losing in the semifinal of the 50-over World Cup in 2019 and the final of the World Test Championship. The setbacks aside, India made massive leaps in their four-year tenure, clean-sweeping Test series in West Indies and Sri Lanka, and putting on creditable shows in South Africa and England.
At home, they were near invulnerable, defeating Australia, England and South Africa. During this period, India’s bench-strength increased manifold — as borne out by the staggering series win in Australia — with a swelling pool of ready-for-international cricketers.
Shastri is widely credited with infusing the streak of resilience that has come to define this team. His chemistry with Kohli was visible even as he groomed the youngsters in the team – the blossoming of Rishabh Pant is a case in point.
But now, the cricket board has decided that a change is needed for the team to reach the next level, and emerge as world-beaters in all forms of the game.
According to protocol, the board will invite applications for the coaching positions after the T20 World Cup. Some officials are already pointing to Rahul Dravid, the NCA chief and coach of India ‘A’ and U-19 sides — and the second-string international side that performed impressively in Sri Lanka last month by winning the ODI series.
Dravid’s experience in working with most of the current senior team, especially those who had been India-A regulars, would make him one of the frontrunners if he decides to apply.
However, when asked about this option during the Lanka tour, he said: “I have enjoyed the experience of working with these guys, it has been great. I have not given any other thoughts to anything else. There are a lot of challenges in doing full-time roles, so I really don’t know,” he said.
Incidentally, Dravid’s contract with the NCA ends in September.