It is a very busy time for Indian cricket at the moment. Both the women's and men's teams busy in their respective tournaments — Mithali Raj and Co dominating the proceedings in the ongoing Women's World Cup, while the 'Men in Blue' lock horns with West Indies in the Caribbean.
From the administrative point of view however, it is the selection of the head coach of the men's cricket team that has kept the staff at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) busy. With the deadline for applications for the post knocking at the door at the moment, Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) — the committee setup last year to pick the coach — is busier than ever right now.
Indian spin legend Anil Kumble was appointed for the job ahead of India's tour of West Indies last year by the CAC — comprising of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, cricketing gems themselves and Kumble's former colleagues. Jumbo, as he is affectionately called, did produce the results during his tenure as the coach, with Virat Kohli and Co winning each and every series that they played barring the Champions Trophy, in which they made it to the final before being decimated by a resurgent Pakistan.
However, that did not result in his contract getting extended, as differences between him and captain Kohli emerged in the public, with his relationship with the latter becoming 'untenable'. With the Indian players no longer backing him in the role, he resigned from the role, announcing it on microblogging website Twitter.
The BCCI had opened the application process for the job shortly after the end of the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), setting the deadline initially at 31 May. Former players such as Virender Sehwag (who was alleged to have sent a two-line Curriculum Vitae, though it was refuted later by Ganguly), Tom Moody, Lalchand Rajput, Dodda Ganesh were some of the prominent players who had applied for the role.
The Indian board however, changed its stance on the application deadline around the same time as the emergence of reports of Ravi Shastri's interest in the job, revising the final date to 9 July. Shastri had served as the Team Director between 2014 and 2016, and is said to enjoy a great rapport with Kohli as well as several members of the team. Having lost out to Kumble in the race last year, it took a while before he finally applied for the role, with CAC member Tendulkar reportedly meeting him in London in order to convince him to do the same. Shastri threw his hat in the ring on Monday, with former West Indies coach Phil Simmons joining the race shortly after.
With a few more days left before the deadline for the submission of applications expires, let us take a look at the process the goes into the selection of the India head coach:
— Opening the application process: The BCCI formally initiates the application process in the form of a release, which they did on 25 May this year, with the release being signed by joint secretary Amitabh Choudhary. The board also mentions the qualities and achievements that it seeks in the application in its release.
— Filtering the CVs out for the CAC: It's not as if the CAC trio will go through all the applications that are sent to the board. One of the applications in the ongoing process happened to be a mechanical engineer who wanted to "drag Kohli on the right track". Such resumes are filtered out before they are sent to Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman.
— The Interview: The shortlisted candidates are then sent to the CAC for the interview, with the candidates having to give presentations to the committee members during the process. The BCCI had last year trimmed the candidates list from 57 to 21 before sending it to the three-member committee.
— The selection: Once the interviews are done (which incidentally took 10 hours in 2016), the CAC then forwards its recommendations to the BCCI president, who then makes the final announcement. Former BCCI chief Anurag Thakur did the honours on 23 June last year in a press conference.
The BCCI decided to advertise for the position of the India head coach for the first time since its inception in a bid to make the process more transparent. The change came about at a time when the board was under pressure to implement the recommendations of the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee.
Editor's note: The information above is based on the coach selection process employed in 2016 and media reports detailing this year's process. The actual process used on 10 July may differ.