Former India captain and Team Director Ravi Shastri is the favourite to become head coach of the Indian cricket team after the deadline to submit applications ended yesterday.
Sources told mid-day that Shastri has the support of Board of Control for Cricket in India president Anurag Thakur as well as Test captain Virat Kohli, who had nevertheless mentioned New Zealander Daniel Vettori as a candidate during the Indian Premier League. With Shastri enjoying support from Kohli as well as key BCCI functionaries, he will, in all likelihood, be announced as the head coach soon. However, a few BCCI officials reckon Sandeep Patil too deserves the responsibility since he did a good job with the Kenya team at the 2003 World Cup. It can be recalled that Patil was given only a six-month India tenure in 1996 when he was replaced by S Madan Lal.
Shastri emerging the favourite negates the possibility of former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming coming into the fray. It is learnt that Fleming was backed by Shashank Manohar before the Nagpur administrator quit as president of the BCCI.
It is learnt that Shastri wants the support staff to be the same when he was Team Director, but there is a chance of Venkatesh Prasad coming in as bowling coach. Prasad did a fine job in his brief tenure especially on the victorious 2007 tour to England and the 2007-08 series in Australia where India lost the Test series 1-2, but stunned Australia to clinch the triangular one-day series.
However, Shastri will in all likelihood get his way with the entire support staff as he feels the bowling unit has improved.