Anil Kumble front-runner, as interviews of head coach begins in Kolkata
The Indian cricket board’s cricket advisory committee (CAC), comprising former greats Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman, is all set to interview the 21 candidates who have applied to be the head coach of the national team.
Former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Sanjay Jagdale will be overseeing the proceedings and those who cannot be present here will have a choice of getting their interview done via video conferencing.
The board had received a total of 57 responses to its advertisement for the job, and 21 of them were shortlisted for the advisory committee to review.
The panel has also been given the liberty to decide if it wants to interview someone else not among the 21 names that have popped up. If it does, former India skipper Anil Kumble — who doesn’t fit the eligibility criteria — might also get a look in. Kumble has emerged as the front- runner too according to various media reports .
According to the BCCI, which advertised for the post earlier this month, candidates should have coached at the international or first-class level. It also mentioned that “it is preferred that the candidate should be qualified through a certification/assessment programme conducted by any of the full member countries, and currently possess such a valid certification”.
The 45-year-old Kumble has no coaching experience, though he has been a mentor in the Indian Premier League (IPL), initially with Royal Challengers Bangalore and later with Mumbai Indians.
However, Kumble, one of the most respected figures in world cricket, has tons of experience. The former leg-spinner is third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket with 619 scalps from 132 matches — only behind Sri Lankan Mutthiah Muralidaran (800) and Australian Shane Warne (708).
The Karnataka player also has played 271 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) taking 337 wickets — most by an Indian. These Tests and national captaincy make him the most high-profile contender, even though he hasn’t formally coached any first class cricket team.
Though the BCCI has kept the names of 21 short-listed applicants a secret, the likes of Ravi Shastri, former India Team Director, and Sandeep Patil, current chairman of selectors, have confirmed that they have applied for the post.
After the interviews, the panel will recommend the names it finds most suitable and then the board is likely to declare the new coach on June 24 at the BCCI working committee meeting in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh which will be presided by BCCI president Anurag Thakur.