Team India support staff selection: While R Sridhar and Bharat Arun have retained their jobs, batting coach Sanjay Bangar will be replaced by former batsman Vikram Rathour who was among the 3 shortlisted candidates for the role.
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Vikram Rathore, India’s opening batsman of the mid-90s, who has been in the coaching circuit in the last few years, will be the new batting coach of the India cricket team.
Rathore beat 14 other applicants who were interviewed for the post which included the likes of established names on coaching circuit like Mark Ramprakash and Pravin Amre as well as former England batsman Jonathon Trott.
Rathore will be replacing Sanjay Bangar who was elevated as assistant coach under Ravi Shastri’s tenure. Bangar has been a regular part of Ravi Shastri-led support staff. He was there even when Shastri first joined as team director in 2014.
Bangar’s removal is seen as him being made a scapegoat after the World Cup semi final loss. However, sources confirm Bangar had lost confidence of the team management over the lasst few months and the team’s premature exit in the World Cup may have fastened his exit.
The selection of the support staff clearly has the stamp of approval of the team management with both Bharat Arun and R Sridhar retaining their positions as bowling and fielding coaches respectively on expected lines. The selectors ignored Jonty Rhodes’ application as well, terming Sridhar as ‘one of the best fielding coach in the world’.
Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad maintained all the appointments were independent decisions of the senior selection committee which conducted these interviews over a period of four days.
“The team management did have their views. I also spoke with Cricket Advisory members (CAC) Kapil Dev and Anshuman Gaikwad but ultimately it was our committe’s call,” MSK Prasad said.
Prasad also spoke of a need for fresh ideas on the batting front.
“Frankly speaking if you see last five years, definitely there is some amount of improvement but looking ahead with the Test Championship coming up and two T20 World Cups, we thought there should be some freshness in that department, so that’s the reason why we went ahead with Vikram Rathore as the first choice,” he said.
Rathore’s appointment also comes under scanner with the conflict of interest charge against him. Rathore is a relative of Junior Chairman of selectors’ Ashish Kapoor. This particular charge against Rathore has been discussed in past BCCI meetings as well and he has been rejected from NCA coaching positions on more than one occasion under stringent conflict of interest rules.
However, BCCI CEO Rahul Johri absolved Rathore of any conflict. “If his brother in law is the selector of junior team, this is the batting coach of men’s senior team, so I don’t think there is any conflict,” he said.