The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Greg-era selectors in hot seat, coach hunt begins
- Seven-man committee to settle ‘foreigner-or-Indian’ question, three names in the reckoning

April 23: Interim cricket manager (or coach) Ravi Shastri won’t continue beyond next month’s tour of Bangladesh. It got confirmed with his being named on the seven-member panel to select Greg Chappell’s full-time successor.

“Shastri had indicated as much when he accepted the responsibility,” Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) joint secretary Mohinder Pandove told The Telegraph this evening.

Pandove is one of four officials on the panel, others being president Sharad Pawar, secretary Niranjan Shah and treasurer N. Srinivasan.

All three former cricketers who had a hand in Chappell’s appointment two years ago — Sunil Gavaskar, Srinivas Venkatraghavan and Shastri — have been retained. Incidentally, all are one-time captains.

According to Pandove, the panel’s first meeting could be in New Delhi on May 4/5.

“From what I understand, our first task will be to lay down policy — whether Chappell’s successor should be an Indian or another foreigner. Second, how do we go about choosing him.... Do we advertise or talk to individuals' The shortlisting can’t be done at the very first meeting,” he said.

If the panel does meet on May 4/5, then Shastri won't be present as it’s going to clash with Team India’s conditioning camp in Calcutta.

Significantly, Shah and the BCCI’s chief administrative officer, Ratnakar Shetty, have reached the West Indies for the closing stages of the World Cup. They’ve gone as invitees of the International Cricket Council.

As the Sri Lankans are still in the competition, an informal dialogue between them and Tom Moody is a possibility.

The Australian, it may be recalled, was in the running to succeed John Wright, but lost out to compatriot Chappell.

While many are convinced Moody is best suited for the job, some in the BCCI feel either approaching or entertaining him will be a step backwards. “If he wasn’t good enough then, how can he be wooed now'” asked somebody in a position of authority.

Moody’s contract with Sri Lanka Cricket is till end-May. “He has promised to first speak to us before doing anything,” informed chief executive Duleep Mendis, adding: “We’ve mutually decided to put things on hold till the World Cup ends....”

Bangladesh’s outgoing coach Dav Whatmore has, of course, already shown interest and there’s speculation that he has forwarded his CV to Pawar.

Whatmore is a strong contender and almost came on board after the 2003 World Cup. It’s just that Jagmohan Dalmiya and Co. then had an unexplained rethink.

Interestingly, there’s a section within the BCCI that’s intent on hiring a desi coach. Some names have been doing the rounds, with Sandeep Patil “ahead” of the others.

Patil had a brief innings with the Sachin Tendulkars in 1996 and is best remembered for guiding rank outsiders Kenya to the semi-finals of the last World Cup.

With good reasons, the players favour a videshi. Not somebody as high profile as Chappell, though.

Really, irrespective of nationality, the best man must get the job. That, indeed, was the sentiment expressed by the seven former captains who interacted with Pawar and his men during the April 6 World Cup review in Mumbai.

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