The current head coach of Team India Ravi Shastri is planning to step down after the T-20 World Cup in October this year. For Indian cricket, Shastri’s absence is going to be a huge void to fill as the former India all-rounder has guided Team India very well after the exit of Anil Kumble in 2017. After the T-20 carnival in October this year, India have an important assignment in the form of a 50-over World Cup in 2023. So, they need to find a suitable candidate who can quickly adapt to the working culture of the Indian team and gel well with the team members. So, let us look at some of the potential contenders for the post of Team India’s head coach.
Prospective candidates to replace Shastri
Popularly known as the Wall of Indian Cricket, Rahul Dravid has to be given the highest priority to coach the Indian squad. Despite an ordinary outing as the coach of senior Indian cricketers for the Sri Lankan tour, he can be an effective guide to the young Indian line-up in the long term. He has mentored players in the U-19 squads, India A teams, and fringe players after hanging up his boots as a Team India player in 2012. The most important thing is that he can be very useful in handling technical glitches of some youngsters such as KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal as he has mentored them as junior team players. And, for Virat Kohli, he is the contrasting character to cool things down when tempers get frayed both on and off the field.
The former Sri Lankan batsman has led his team well during his active years in international cricket. Jayawardene is also endowed with a good temperament for big matches, his century in the 2011 World Cup final is a testimony to the same. After calling it quits, he served as the batting coach for England Cricket Team. At present, the Sri Lankan legend is the chief coach of Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL. As a result of his astute guidance, the MI team has won three titles in four attempts. Hence, for a team staring at a drought of major ICC titles his exposure and expertise as an MI coach can be just what the doctor has ordered.
Moody is another prospective candidate to coach the multi-faced Indian team post the Shastri era. For Indian players, the former Australian all-rounder is not an unknown entity as he has worked with some of them during his tenure as a coach with the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL and helped the franchise win the IPL in 2016. Also, he has coached the Sri Lankan team and helped them reach the finals of the 2007 World Cup in West Indies. After getting replaced by Trevor Bayliss as the SRH head coach prior to the IPL 2020 kick-off, he came back to the franchise as its Director of Cricket before the start of IPL 2021. All these credentials are enough to handle a talented but inconsistent bunch of Indian players.
The Kiwi southpaw is another candidate that the Team India think-tank should seriously consider for the coveted post. As the captain of the New Zealand team, he was renowned for his astute planning and sound strategies. Even among some Indian Team members, he is not an unknown figure as he happens to be the coach of Chennai Super Kings from 2009 onwards, except for two seasons when the franchise was suspended from the IPL. Under his guidance, the CSK has won the IPL thrice and the yellow brigade has always made it to the play-off except in 2020. His successful stint as the CSK head coach makes him a perfect candidate to take over from Shastri.
The former Indian middle-order batsman is another candidate who is worth trying out. Despite the 5-year ban for fixing in the past, which was quashed by the Delhi High Court in 2003, his cricketing brain has always come in for praise from his worst adversaries as well. With relevant expertise, like taking the road less travelled or quick decisions, required for the contemporary style of cricket, Jadeja can be an ideal foil for Kohli-led Team India. During his playing days, he used to be the swiftest of the runners in the Indian team and the same aspect makes him perfect for the current setup as India lays a lot of emphasis on the fielding abilities and fitness of the cricketers.