Mumbai: The rounds of speculation are over. The 'sources said' angles are done with. Anil Kumble has stepped down as Team India coach following differences with skipper Virat Kohli. And yes, it is official. While many, who wish good for Indian cricket, hoped that this entire Kohli vs Kumble saga was a mad man rumour, the “partnership” as Kumble said in his statement “was untenable” as this captain versus coach saga has come to an end on a bitter note.
While Kumble, who replaced Team India director Ravi Shastri at the helm of affairs last year, was given an extension till the West Indies tour and given a direct entry in the application, he has “withdrawn his services as the post of the Head Coach for the Senior India Men’s team”.
With Kumble, under whom, India just lost one bilateral series and reached to the finals of the ICC Champions Trophy, here are the five candidates who can become India’s next head coach.
Tom Moody (Australia):
Sri Lanka, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Worcestershire, Western Australia and in Caribbean Premier League; Tom Moody has solid experience as a coach. The Australian has proven his credentials as a coach; both at the club level and at the international level. Having coached in the IPL at SRH over last few years, including during their title triumph under David Warner in 2016, he also has an idea how Indian cricketers and their cricket function. More importantly, he is in sync with modern-day cricket.
Also, he was amongst the select few who gave Anil Kumble a before the Cricket Advisory Committee of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman appointed the former India leg-spinner as Team India coach replacing Team Director Ravi Shastri.
Lalchand Rajput (India):
Understated but effective, the former Mumbai cricketer and the current Afghanistan cricket team coach has thrown his hat in the ring to coach the Indian side after BCCI invited applications for the post of Team India head coach last month.
Rajput worked as team manager with the Indian side after a shocking early exit from World Cup 2007 in West Indies. During his stint with the Indian side, MS Dhoni led the young Indian unit to ICC World Twenty20 triumph in 2007. He also coached Mumbai Indians in the first edition of the Indian Premier League.
Like Moody, Rajput was one of the candidates to have applied for Team India head coach position last year. With Kumble getting the nod ahead of everyone else, Rajput became Afghanistan coach, replacing Pakistan legend Inzamam-ul-Haq. Rajput then pipped former South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs, former Pakistan skipper Mohammad Yousuf and ex-West Indies pacer Corey Collymore.
Richard Pybus (England):
Pakistan, Cape Cobras, Titans, Bangladesh, Middlesex and winner of Cricket South Africa's 'Coach of the Year' award in 2011, director of cricket at West Indies Cricket Board for three years since 2013, Richard Pybus, was born and raised in England. He has worked across the globe alongside his solid experience, Pybus known for grooming young talent and the list includes the likes of Mark Boucher, Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Albie Morkel, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir amongst many others.
What BCCI or to be precise CAC, may not like in his CV though is his unceremonious exits from Pakistan and Bangladesh - where he left five months into the job citing contract issues. But knowing he can work with the youngsters and can remain low profile while still having a lot of coaching experience, he can become a good foil to someone like Virat Kohli.
Dodda Ganesh (India):
The former pacer has coached Goa for four years since 2012. While he played only four Tests and an ODI for India, he has been a Karnataka veteran; a team Anil Kumble played for in Ranji Trophy incidentally. He also worked at the National Cricket Academy where he worked as a coach for the Under-16 and Under-19.
He was also the selector of the Karnataka side which went on to win trebles in domestic cricket – Ranji Trophy, Irani Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy – for two successive seasons.
While he is said to be man who likes to keep a low profile, having no experience to coach a high profile side may not work in his favour.
Virender Sehwag (India):
Like his batting, his application for the post of Team India head coach left everyone intrigued. From being unsure to apply to the post to one of the front-runners for the post via a reported two-line application for the post to denying the same, Sehwag is said to be a favourite to take over from Anil Kumble.
Sehwag, who has played a role of a mentor at Kings XI Punjab, does not have much experience of coaching a side; domestically or otherwise. However, his laidback attitude could work in his favour as Kohli and Co did not like Kumble's reported "headmasterly" attitude.
Add to it, his first hand experience of playing top-flight cricket and hence, the understanding what Indian cricketers have to face....