During the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, there were reports of a rift between the Indian captain Virat Kohli and the head coach Anil Kumble. Initially, the pair denied any such disagreements. However, the rumors proved to be true at the end of the tournament.
Anil Kumble’s infamous exit from the Indian team created several outrages among the Indian cricket fans, former players, and experts. In July 2017, Ravi Shastri, another former Indian cricketer, replaced Kumble as the head coach and under Shastri, Indian cricket witnessed a notable rise in quality.
With Shastri’s tenure nearing the end, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recently invited the applicants for the head coach role and other support staff roles. With Shastri set to receive an automatic entry in the recruitment process, here is a look at four other possible candidates who could become the next head coach for India.
#4 Simon Katich
Former Australian batsman Simon Katich represented his nation for almost two decades, with his unique batting stance and trigger movement often compared with the style of former West Indies cricketer, Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
After the 2010-11 Ashes series, Katich was infamously excluded from Australia’s central contract list. Even though his international career came to an abrupt end, he continued to play in the domestic scenario for the next three years. Having led the Perth Scorchers to their maiden BBL trophy in the 2013-14 season, Katich called time on his playing career.
In October 2015, the Kolkata Knight Riders roped in Katich as the assistant coach to support head coach Jacques Kallis. After four years as an assistant coach, he recently parted ways with KKR. Besides, Katich has been coaching the Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League since 2017. Under his guidance, TKR have won the CPL twice.
At the start of this month, the Manchester-based side in The Hundred appointed him as their head coach. With some other established names in the race for claiming the spot, Katich has only an outside chance of becoming India’s next head coach.
#3 Mahela Jayawardena
Mahela Jayawardena, the former Sri Lankan skipper, had a stellar international career. With more than 20,000 international runs, Jayawardena is one of the greatest players in the history of cricket. Sri Lanka’s defeat at the hands of South Africa in the 2015 World Cup quarterfinals brought down the curtains to his international career.
His coaching career started with a role as a batting consultant for England as part of the 2015 UAE tour against Pakistan. Later, he replaced Ricky Ponting as the head coach of Mumbai Indians in the 2017 edition of IPL. Under his guidance, Mumbai Indians have won two IPL trophies in the last three seasons. Besides, he also had a two-year stint with the Khulna Titans as part of the Bangladesh Premier League.
A few months ago, Jayawardene rejected the offer presented by the Sri Lanka Cricket Board to play a part in Sri Lanka’s World Cup 2019 campaign. A good coaching record in a short period apart from abundant experience from playing the sport makes him an able candidate.
#2 Tom Moody
Tom Moody, the former Australian all-rounder, had a relatively short International career. Post retirement in 2001, he has donned several roles such as a head coach, commentator, and the Director of Cricket as well.
Moody was one of the contenders for India’s head coach role in 2005. However, he lost out the position to his fellow country mate, Greg Chappell. Nevertheless, Moody was soon drafted into the role of Sri Lanka’s head coach and guided them to the 2007 World Cup Final.
He also coached Western Australia in 2007 and guided the team to the 2007-08 KFC Twenty20 Big Bash final and was also a part of Kings XI Punjab’s team management during the inaugural IPL season.
In 2013, he joined the Sunrisers Hyderabad as their coach and has served the role for seven consecutive seasons. During his tenure as coach, the Hyderabad franchise has reached the playoffs five times in the last seven years, apart from winning the title in 2016.
When India last advertised for the head coach role in 2017, Tom Moody once again applied for the role. However, Ravi Shastri was selected for the role as Moody missed out yet again. With the opportunity to seal the role yet again in the picture, Moody could well be looking to throw his hat in the ring.
#1 Gary Kirsten
Ever since the openings for the role of the head coach was announced, Gary Kirsten’s name was the most prominent one, with scores of Indian cricket fans wanting the 2011 World Cup winning coach back in the team management.
After the infamous removal of Greg Chappell in 2008, Gary Kirsten became the head coach of India. During his tenure (2008-11), the Indian team witnessed several highs and won several trophies. In particular, the 2011 World Cup win will always remain one of his best achievements.
After his stint with the Indian team, Kirsten moved back to South Africa and took up the job of coaching South Africa in June 2011. After a two-year stint with his home country, Kirsten stepped down as the head coach citing family commitments.
Since then, Kirsten has only coached various T20 teams. In the IPL, he coached the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) for two seasons (2014 and 2015) and returned to the IPL in the 2018 edition as the batting coach of RCB. For the 2019 edition, RCB appointed him as their head coach. Apart from this, he coached the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League for just a single season (2017-18).
Recently, when the search was on for a suitable candidate to take up the head coach role of the Indian women’s team, Gary Kirsten’s name was on the final list. However, WV Raman, the former Indian cricketer, got the nod ahead of Gary Kristen.
Now, with the men’s team coach role vacan, Gary Kirsten once again appears to be the front-runner for the position. Besides, his familiarity with the Indian team and the skipper Virat Kohli makes him the prime candidate for the job.