Mumbai: Acceding to newly-appointed chief coach Ravi Shastri’s demand, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday appointed Bharat Arun as the Indian cricket team’s bowling coach, ending days of confusion surrounding the position.
Arun was India’s bowling coach during Shastri’s previous tenure as team director and the latter had insisted on his appointment in his soon-to-start second stint with the Indian team. The decision to appoint Arun, on a two-year contract, was taken after Shastri met the Committee of Administrators (CoA) and BCCI officials, including acting president C.K. Khanna and secretary Amitabh Chaudhary.
“I was in England and was watching tennis (Wimbledon). I was very clear in my mind what my core team would be, what you just heard is my core team," Shastri said after Chaudhary announced the appointment in a press conference.
Arun is now likely to resign from the position of assistant coach in the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore. Besides, the BCCI also decided to retain Sanjay Bangar as assistant coach and R. Sridhar as fielding coach till the 2019 ODI World Cup.
“Patrick Farhad also continues as physio...All of them are part of the team for two years until the closure of next World Cup," Chaudhary said. Arun’s appointment marks a complete about-turn for the BCCI, which had named Zaheer Khan as bowling consultant initially before clarifying that it was for specific overseas tours.
There is no clarity on Rahul Dravid’s position as batting consultant either. “I have spoken to both the individuals and they are as good as three or four years ago, and they are fantastic cricketers. Their inputs will be invaluable, they will be on board when they speak to these authorities," was Shastri’s cryptic response on queries regarding Zaheer and Dravid. “All depends on their availability, it depends on individuals, the number of days they want to give but their inputs will be invaluable and they are most welcome," he added.
Chaudhary, on his part, said there was never any confusion on Dravid and Zaheer despite the obvious flip-flops by the BCCI. “At the first place I am absolutely clear that it is not a fiasco, once we appointed the head coach, obviously he had to think of his responsibility which come with that appointment, and it is very clear he wanted his core team. The other two (Zaheer and Dravid) are consultants," he said.
Shastri thanked the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC)—comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman—for picking him for the high-profile job. “I would like to thank the CAC because it is a privilege and an honour to be India’s coach. And I would like to thank the CAC for considering me worthy enough for the job," he said.
The BCCI’s handling of Zaheer and Dravid’s appointment has come in for severe criticism with former CoA member Ramachandra Guha calling it “public humiliation" of the two stalwarts of Indian cricket. Neither Zaheer, nor Dravid have yet spoken about the lack of clarity regarding their positions.