New Delhi: Virender Sehwag today became the most notable applicant for the Indian cricket team’s chief coach’s post, which would be technically vacant when Anil Kumble’s term comes to an end after the Champions Trophy.
While Kumble is an automatic entry into the process, the others in the fray are Australian Tom Moody and Englishman Richard Pybus, who has coached Pakistan earlier.
The two Indians among applicants are former fast bowler Dodda Ganesh and former India A coach Lalchand Rajput.
Moody and Rajput had applied for the chief coach’s job last year also but it was Kumble, who got the nod.
However, the entry of Sehwag — one of India’s greatest ever game changer — makes the battle for the position very interesting.
One of India’s biggest match-winners and a part of two- time World Cup winning team, Sehwag played 104 Tests and 251 ODIs for India scoring 8586 and 8273 runs respectively.
He doesn’t have any prior coaching experience apart from mentoring IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab recently, it was the BCCI top brass that convinced him to apply for the post.
It’s the same kind of scenario when Ravi Shastri seemed all set to be retained as coach and Kumble was asked to throw his hat in the ring at the eleventh hour.
The BCCI joint secretary Amitabh Chaudhary today on record denied any rift between Kumble and captain Virat Kohli. However, the fact that a player of Sehwag’s stature has applied gives enough indication that everything is not right in the Indian dressing room.
Sehwag will only apply when he knows that he is a serious contender for the top job.
It will be interesting if Kumble finally appears for the interview knowing that Sehwag has applied for the post.
However many in BCCI feel that Sehwag, who is also a social media sensation, may demand an astronomical salary and then Moody, who gave a good presentation last time also, could come into the fray.
It may well happen that Moody, a proven international and IPL coach (Sri Lanka and Sunrisers Hyderabad) may be considered for the job.
Moody is a proto-type of John Wright and Gary Kirsten, two of the successful coaches of India. He is soft-spoken, more of a backroom man with a pleasing personality.
A two-time World Cup winner (1987 and 1999), 52-year-old Moody was an important member of Australia’s limited overs side till the late 90’s, representing the country in 76 ODIs.
Pybus doesn’t have great cricketing pedigree having played only one first-class match but is rated highly as a strategist. He has coached Pakistan national side twice.
Rajput and Ganesh could at best be the fillers with the latter being an aspirant for the fast bowling coach’s job.
However if Zaheer Khan is ever keen to take up the job, then BCCI may not look elsewhere.
The interviews are supposed to be held in England only. A few may join the interview via Skype.
Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, part of the cricket advisory committee, and Sehwag are currently in England as part of the commentary team for the Star Sports in the Champions Trophy.