Shastri wins ’close race’ to continue as India’s head coach

16 August 2019 07:55 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Ravi Shastri will continue as head coach of the Indian senior men’s cricket team up to 2021 after pipping New Zealand’s Mike Hesson and Australia’s Tom Moody, the country’s cricket board (BCCI) said on Friday.

The BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), comprising cricket great Kapil Dev, former India coach Anshuman Gaekwad and ex-women’s captain Shanta Rangaswamy, conducted interviews for the post on Friday and unanimously agreed to retain faith in Shastri until the T20 World Cup in India starting Oct. 2021.

As well as incumbent Shastri, former India players Lalchand Rajput and Robin Singh were also short-listed candidates.

“Shastri’s presentation was about what he did in the last two years and the way forward for the Indian team,” Dev told reporters at a hotel overlooking the Arabian Sea.

“The system was simple. After a meeting of almost six hours, all three of us had our markings. We unanimously decided after accounting for all the numbers... number one is Ravi Shastri.

“We didn’t discuss who is giving whom how many marks. When we calculated it was a close race, the difference was small and we were amazed.”

Shastri’s next assignment will be the home series against South Africa, who will play three T20 internationals and three tests starting next month.

The contracts of Shastri and his team were set to expire after the 50-overs World Cup but they were handed an extension until the ongoing tour of the West Indies, where Virat Kohli’s men still have to play two tests.

Before departing for the tour of West Indies, Kohli openly backed Shastri to continue but the CAC said they had arrived at their decision without consulting the skipper.

“Being the current coach, knowing the boys well, the problems in the current team, he (Shastri) is well versed with the entire system,” Gaekwad said.

“For somebody who knows the system, who knows the players, can communicate well, he had the advantage.”

Former test all-rounder Shastri was appointed head coach in 2017, succeeding former captain Anil Kumble who stepped down after falling out with Kohli despite a successful run in charge.

Under Shastri, who also had a previous stint as India’s team director, India won a maiden test series in Australia earlier this year and are ranked number one in the world in the format.

They reached the semi-finals of the World Cup where they were beaten by runners-up New Zealand last month.

Moody previously coached Sri Lanka and also had stints in franchise cricket with Indian Premier League sides Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad, while Hesson served as head coach for the Black Caps for six years.

Former West Indies opener Simmons, who was the head coach of Afghanistan till the World Cup and also coached the Caribbean side and Ireland, dropped out of Friday’s interview process.

The BCCI has also invited applications for the positions of batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach as well as an administrative manager — with the appointments to be made soon.

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