The BCCI had received a total of 57 applications for the head coach position of the Indian national team and had shortlisted a total of 21 names at the start of this week. The majority of applications were from within the country since the BCCI had indirectly indicated through its job posting that it preferred a local candidate.
A number of well known names sent in their applications including former team manager Ravi Shastri, right arm medium pacer Venkatesh Prasad, chief selector Sandip Patel and Australians Stuart Law and Tom Moody. A panel consisting of former greats such as Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and ex-Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly were given the task of interviewing the shortlisted candidates and then appointing the new coach. The panel stated that they did not speak to MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli as their opinion was not required for finalizing the head coach.
The panel finally decided that former leg spinner Anil Kumble was the best man for the job and the BCCI confirmed Kumble’s appointment on the 23rd of June in Dharamsala. There were rumours that it came down to Shastri and Kumble in the final stages but Kumble was chosen as he had given a much better presentation outlining his plans for the side in both test cricket and the shorter formats of the game.
Kumble did not meet a number of criteria that was outlined in the initial job description posted by the BCCI, especially given that Kumble has no coaching experience. His exposure to coaching remains in the role of a ‘mentor’ for the Mumbai Indians. However Kumble’s pedigree and accomplishments in cricket are outstanding and there is no doubt that he commands a lot of respect with the current Indian squad.
In a statement, Anurag Thakur, BCCI chairman said “It’s not about Indian or foreign coach. It’s about who is the best for Indian cricket. Their presentations – how they will take Indian cricket forward. India deserves the best, and I think we have it in Kumble.”
Current ODI and T20 captain MS Dhoni took over the test captaincy after Kumble retired and has played a lot of cricket with Kumble. The two should have no problem working together and Kohli will learn a lot from Kumble who is known for keeping a cool head in pressure situations.
Kumble has been given a one year contract by the board. The BCCI is yet to announce the batting, fielding and bowling coaches.