Anil Kumble's resignation as coach of the Indian cricket team on Tuesday has left a vacuum in the dressing room that is hard to fill. Kumble's decision confirmed rumours that had been circulating for weeks about him falling out between with captain Virat Kohli.
Kumble ultimately confirmed that his relationship with Kohli was "untenable" which made it hard for him to carry on despite the Cricket Advisory Committee’s recommendation to give him an extension. In fact, Kumble was given the option to travel with the team to the West Indies for the limited overs series beginning on Friday despite his one-year contract expiring at the end of the ICC Champions Trophy.
The CAC, comprising Kumble’s former India teammates Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, will now interview the candidates on 10 July who have reportedly submitted their applications for the post.
Here's a look at the potential candidates for the Indian cricket team's next head coach:
Sehwag has made a seamless transition from hard-hitting India opener to quick-witted commentator in a short span. There were rumours that he had sent the CAC a two-line resume — a claim he has rebuffed. He was mentor of Kings XI Punjab in 2016 and was promoted to director of cricket operations in 2017. His no-nonsense style of coaching drew praise from even South Africa batsman Hashim Amla, who lauded the fact that he never compels anyone to change their style of cricket. Though this may be essential to playing T20 cricket, the longer formats require clever tactics. One wonders if Sehwag is the most ideal option to guide a Test team through tours to England and Australia.
Tom Moody was not only a part of Australia’s successful 1999 World Cup campaign but coached Sri Lanka to the 2007 World Cup final. As coach of Sunrisers Hyderabad, he guided them to the playoffs thrice and to the title in 2016. He is easily the most qualified and accomplished candidate. But the last time an Australian coach was appointed for the India coach's role, things didn’t particularly end well and there might still be some unpleasant memories lingering in the minds of the CAC members.
Pybus ably coached the Pakistan team to the 1999 World Cup final before they fell to the might of Steve Waugh's Australia. He also coached the Bangladesh national team but unfortunately had to quit due to contractual problems with Bangladesh Cricket Board. In addition to this, he has experience coaching Middlesex in the English county championship and the Titans and the Cape Cobras have flourished under his guidance in the South African domestic circuit, winning nine championship titles over six seasons. He maybe an inconspicuous figure but is as qualified as Moody for the job.
Rajput, a former Indian Test cricketer, is currently the coach of the Afghanistan team, which is steadily growing in stature. He was the manager of the Indian team when they won the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007. He coached the Mumbai Indians in the 2008 season of IPL and has shown a knack for identifying young talent thanks to his stints with the India U-19 and India A teams.
Ganesh is a former Indian cricketer who had a prolific first-class career as a fast bowler taking over 350 wickets. He also coached the Goa team in Ranji Trophy from 2012 to 2016. The fact that he was able to survive two weeks in Bigg Boss Kannada (based on the Big Brother format) should hold him in good stead while tackling the endless drama of being India’s cricket coach.
Tipped as the front runner for the job, Shastri's best stint came when he was appointed the team director following India's Test series loss to England in 2014. Though then-coach Duncan Fletcher still controlled things, it was understood that Shastri's quality of boosting players' confidence worked wonders. The results were visible. India won ODI series in England, stitched together a winning streak in the 2015 World Cup before coming up against an inspired and eventual champions Australia. They also went onto whitewash the Australians in a T20I series in January-February 2016. In the Test format, Virat Kohli and Co clinched the South Africa series at home. The Men in Blue also made the semi-finals of the 2016 World T20.
Simmons became the latest to join the race for the job when he threw his hat in the ring on 3 July. His coaching career began back in 2004 when he was appointed as the head coach of Zimbabwe. However, his stint wasn't as successful as he would have liked, and he was sacked just a year later. Thereafter, he served as Ireland's head coach for eight long years. His ability to mould young players also gave him an opportunity to coach West Indies. He guided them to the 2016 World T20 triumph. But he was removed from his post in September 2016 due to 'differences in culture and strategic approach'. Most recently, he was appointed as Afghanistan's consultant for the series against Zimbabwe Ireland and West Indies.