Following India’s loss to New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has invited fresh applications for the head coach and support staff of the Indian cricket team. The current coaching staff – Ravi Shastri (head coach), Bharat Arun (bowling coach), Sanjay Bangar (batting coach) and R Sridhar (fielding coach) – can reapply.
While the rest of the coaching staff has a chance to remain, Bangar’s position as the batting coach is in threat if the reports are to be believed. There is every possibility that he might be replaced after a decent stint at the helm and the Cricket Advisory Committee led by Kapil Dev will take the final decision.
Here we look at five cricketers who can replace Bangar as India’s batting coach:
1. Rahul Dravid
India A coach Rahul Dravid. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
‘The Wall’ as he’s often referred to, has scored 13,288 runs at an average of 52.31 in 164 test matches. In 344 ODI matches, he has 10,889 runs. Rahul Dravid has worked closely with the head coaches of the national men’s and women’s team as well as the coaches for the developmental teams — India A, India U-19, India U-23 — to identify key training methods and areas for development.
He’s been the head coach of the India U19 team since 2015. Under him, the Indian colts had reached the final in 2016 and then the Prithvi Shaw-led team went one step further to lift the U19 World Cup trophy in January 2018.
The prospect of him remaining at the U19 level to groom the next generation of players while they are at their formative stages is a good idea. But there can be no harm for the Indian team to have him at the top level for a stint as he knows many of the young cricketers in Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant since their U19 days and who are most likely to be part of the senior team in the near future.
Highly regarded as the one with one of the best techniques since his playing days, Rahul Dravid’s immaculate gameplay can help the Indian batsmen tackle the challenges of foreign conditions especially the swinging conditions which led to their downfall in the World Cup semi-final as well.
2. Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)
With an average of 51.85, he had scored 13,378 runs in 168 test matches. His 375 ODI matches yielded 13,704 runs. While his batting prowess is widely known, he would help the next generation of Indian players while strategizing with the head coach and experienced campaigners in Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma with game tactics.
He has had a stint as coach of IPL’s most successful team – Mumbai Indians, from 2015 to 2017. He’s worked closely with India’s most prolific players in Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya, that will hold him in good stead for the job. Ponting was appointed as the head coach of Delhi Capitals since the 2018 edition and knows India’s core batting youth group in Shaw, Pant and Shreyas Iyer who are potential future batting stars for the Indian team.
The 2019 IPL season saw Delhi Capitals qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Ricky Ponting has been successfully churning out impressive performances from a group of youngsters that say quite a lot about his influence as a coach. He was Australia’s assistant coach as well at the World Cup where the team did extremely well.
3. Jacques Kallis
Jacques Kallis. (Photo by Neville Hopwood/Getty Images for Professional Sports Group)
The Protea has scored 13,289 runs in 166 test matches at an average of 55.38, while 328 ODI matches has seen him amass 11,579 runs. One of the most successful all-rounders in the game, Jacques Kallis was the batting consultant for KKR in IPL 2015, and later took over as the head coach of the franchise. He became the first non-Australian coach of KKR in 2016. Under him, KKR have been able to consistently reach the playoffs almost every season.
Now that Kolkata Knight Riders have part ways with him as their head coach, Jacques Kallis could be an able batting coach for the Indian team with his vast experience of various conditions around the world. Calmness has been his forte right from his playing days that would help the players implement.
Moreover, he can do wonders with India’s upcoming all-rounders as well, especially Hardik Pandya who is still a work in progress. No wonder, the legendary cricketer will be important in tackling the problems of some of the Indian batsmen.
4. Micheal Hussey
Michael Hussey. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
A late bloomer, widely known as ‘Mr. Cricket’, Michael Hussey has scored 6235 runs in 79 Test matches at an average of 51.53. He also has 5442 runs under his belt in 185 ODI appearances for Australia. Hussey has been one of the most sought after among the retired players, especially in franchise-based T20 cricket.
Since his retirement in 2013, the southpaw has worked in various consulting roles, such as for South Africa during World Cup 2015. He also assisted Darren Lehmann with Australia during the World Twenty20 in 2016. Micheal Hussey was appointed as the Chennai Super Kings’ batting coach in January 2018.
As India look forward to major tournaments around the world, with the inevitable event of MS Dhoni hanging his boots in the near future, it is only imperative for the Indian management to have someone like Micheal Hussey in their camp. He will not only provide the team with valuable batting insights but also help in the building process for the upcoming generation of the batsmen.
Hussey shares a good rapport with some of the Indian cricketers and will surely gel well with the team after taking over the reins. Also, his camaraderie with MS Dhoni will also play a decent role as they were together for a long time at the CSK.
5. Stephen Fleming
Stephen Fleming. (Photo Source: Twitter)
The former Kiwi captain has scored more than 7000 runs in 111 Test matches and 8037 runs in 280 ODI matches. He has been the coach of the Chennai Super Kings for a long time now -the second most successful IPL team.
Along with MS Dhoni, he has led CSK to three IPL titles – consecutively in 2010 and 2011 and then upon their return in 2018. Having an experience vast enough to be at the helm of an international team, Fleming’s calming influence would maintain a receptive approach for the Indian team, while going through even the most challenging times.
Even though better suited as head coach, this Indian team would benefit immensely with Fleming as his astute understanding of the game makes him a valuable asset to take the baton of Indian cricketing standards forward.
~ Written by Dwaipayan Mukherjee
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