NEW DELHI: Former India captain all-rounder Ravi Shastri, who was team director of the Indian men's cricket team from August 2014 to April 2016, has been appointed as head coach for a two-year period until the end of the 2019 ICC World Cup. Former fast bowling spearhead Zaheer Khan was appointed the bowling coach and former batting great and captain Rahul Dravid was named batting consultant for specific overseas tours.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) finalized the appointments late on Tuesday.
While Shastri brings with him a wealth of experience, both as player and as coach, Zaheer assumed the mentoring role to a young fast bowling unit even during his tenure with Team India. His inputs will be of immense value to young Indian fast bowlers, who have shown tremendous potential in the last couple of years. As the Indian team is to play Test cricket overseas in the next two years, Dravid's expertise as batting consultant will be immensely helpful for youngsters.
Zaheer, who last played international cricket in 2014, is considered to be one of finest exponents of swing bowling India has ever produced.
Though initially not applied for the post, Ravi Shastri joined the fray after the BCCI extended the deadline to accept applications until July 9, and the 55-year-old beat out a list of applicants comprising former India opener Virender Sehwag, former Sri Lanka coach and current coach of IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad Tom Moody, current Afghanistan coach Lalchand Rajput and former Pakistan and Bangladesh coach and director of West Indies cricket Richard Pybus.
The appointments were finalized a day after the BCCI's Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) announced that it would seek Indian captain Virat Kohli's inputs before announcing the man to replace Anil Kumble in the most high-profile coaching role in the sport. Addressing a press conference after a nearly six-hour interview process with the five aforementioned candidates at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai on Monday, CAC member Sourav Ganguly had said that Kohli, who is currently out of the country, had to be apprised of their decision before the next coach could be revealed.
Ganguly and VVS Laxman sat together inside the Wankhede Stadium while Sachin Tendulkar joined via video conference from the UK. Barring Sehwag, none of the applicants were physically present at the BCCI headquarters, instead being interviewed over Skype.
This marks an eventful return to the Indian cricket team setup for Shastri, who last June was overlooked by the CAC for Anil Kumble, and subsequently had a public spat with Ganguly. At the time, Shastri alleged that Ganguly had not been present when he was interviewed via Skype, to which Ganguly replied that Shastri should have taken the interview more seriously and been in India to apply in person before the CAC.