The selection of the Indian cricket team’s head coach was surrounded with drama, chaos and a significant delay and Ravi Shastri was given the green light at the end. However, captain Virat Kohli, who was categorically against Anil Kumble, had no problems whatsoever with any of the other candidates applying for the role.
After the selection process, it is now understood that Shastri was not the only one who was in the good books of the Indian captain as former opening batsman Virender Sehwag was also one of the top contenders for the high profile job.
A report in the Times of India suggests that the two-time Test triple centurion was confident that he had the potential to handle the pressure of becoming the head coach of India.
Sehwag needed some sort of backing, and a senior BCCI official reportedly asked him to apply for the role of India coach, a source privy to the internal matters, told the daily.
"After his stint as the mentor of Kings XI Punjab, Viru (Virender Sehwag) was growing more confident by the day that he had the potential required to work at a higher level in a similar capacity. It was then that a senior BCCI official asked him to apply (for the role of India coach) if he could make up his mind," the source told the Times of India.
After the support, Sehwag apparently approached the Indian skipper and asked him whether it would be a good option if he applied. Kohli said, “Of course, Viru paa. Your contribution to Indian cricket is great and we're all so familiar with you. I have no problems whatsoever in you applying for the role. Anybody who thinks he can contribute his best for Indian cricket can and should apply.”
According to the report, Sehwag and Kohli - both from Delhi- could have well turned their familiarity with each other into a professional relationship if not for Sehwag's proposal to bring along with him a team of support staff which included physiotherapist Amit Tyagi and Kings XI Punjab assistant coach and former Delhi teammate Mithun Manhas.
Kohli told Sehwag that he had reservations with the latter selecting his support staff, adding that he has a lot of respect for Sehwag but that it was not possible to adhere to such demands in a “professional set-up”. Kohli also made it clear that the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), comprising India legends Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, was in charge of this matter.
"There is a support staff in place and has worked with this team for a while now. In fact, there are individuals who understand the needs of team members on an individual basis," Kohli is believed to have told Sehwag.
This is the reason which would have propelled Shastri ahead of Sehwag to the spot of the front-runner, as the former was willing to have a more inclusive approach.
The source quoted by the Times of India said that Shastri understood the importance of the work ethic put in place by the existing support staff members who have worked with the Indian team for nearly three years, and that attitude worked in Shastri's favour.