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No clarity yet over India’s long-term support staff

August 4th, 2015 | by admin
No clarity yet over India’s long-term support staff

India’s coaching staff is in a state of flux ahead of their first challenge of a long and busy season. The team director, Ravi Shastri, will only join the squad in Sri Lanka on August 8 – four days before the first Test, and only after the practice game – once he completes his duties as a television expert for the Ashes broadcaster. His three assistant coaches are reportedly yet to be given their contracts because the BCCI appears to be waiting to take a decision on Shastri’s future first.

Shastri, B Arun (bowling coach), R Sridhar (fielding coach) and Sanjay Bangar (batting coach) were promised extensions during India’s tour of Bangladesh in June, and were expected to be offered contracts before the team’s departure to Zimbabwe later that month. However, it is understood that no contracts have been offered yet.

One of the reasons for the delay is Shastri’s perceived lack of commitment. He skipped India’s tour to Zimbabwe after seeking prior approval from BCCI, and having signed up as an analyst with Sky Sports, Shastri also missed the preparatory phase for the Sri Lanka tour.

A BCCI source said that part of the reason for Shastri skipping the initial phase of the Sri Lanka tour was due to the revision in itinerary – the schedule was advanced by about ten days, causing a conflict with his commitment to Sky Sports. The BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya and secretary Anurag Thakur have not been critical of Shastri’s decisions. Thakur had said last month that Shastri had informed the board about his unavailability for the Zimbabwe tour “well in advance”.

However, his absence from the touring party to Sri Lanka has raised doubts about his commitment among some BCCI office bearers. Several board members told ESPNcricinfo that it sent a wrong signal because the man in charge of the Indian team’s affairs had substantial media commitments as well.

The situation has neither helped Shastri nor his assistants as long-term appointments. The BCCI hierarchy is understood to be happy to wait for the appointment of a head coach, before giving year-long contracts to assistant coaches. The BCCI is believed to be in touch with a couple of overseas candidates and the cricket advisory committee is likely to interview them in the first week of September.

The last set of assistant coaches India had – Vekhatesh Prasad and Robin Singh – worked through their two-year stint without a long-term contract. They were compensated on a series-by-series basis. The three assistant coaches have been on a similar arrangement since they were roped in midway through India’s tour to England last year.


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