Sanjay Bangar, the former India and Railways allrounder, has been appointed India’s head coach for the team’s tour to Zimbabwe. Bangar, 43, had worked with the team as assistant coach till their previous international assignment, the World T20 in March and April this year, under team director Ravi Shastri.
Abhay Sharma, who most recently worked with the India Under-19 and A teams, was named fielding coach for the tour. He had also worked with the Rest of India team that beat Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai in dramatic fashion in the 2016 Irani Cup.
Bangar oversaw India’s batsmen since the coaching team, also comprising Shastri, B Arun (bowling) and R Sridhar (fielding), was appointed during the limited-overs leg of India’s tour to England in 2014. Their contracts expired at the end of the World T20, and the BCCI had said it would put together an interim coaching team for Zimbabwe; June 10 is the deadline for candidates to apply for the role of India’s full-time head, and the appointment process will be completed before India leave for the West Indies in July.
There will be no bowling coach travelling with the Indian team because, according to BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke, Zimbabwe was a “very short tour”. This means Arun and Sridhar will have to re-apply for the coaching positions in June, if they want to continue in India’s coaching staff.
Neither Shirke nor any other BCCI official was available for a comment on Shastri’s future. After taking over as BCCI president, Anurag Thakur had complimented Shastri and his team of coaches for having done a good job during their tenure. He had mentioned that everyone who felt he was eligble for the India coaching job could apply.
India play three T20s and three ODIs in Zimbabwe, starting on June 11. The selectors had named a largely inexperienced squad for the tour, which will be led by MS Dhoni, the only big name in the XVI.
The BCCI release announcing the staff appointments did not name a bowling coach for the tour. Koka Ramesh, a former zonal secretary of the Andhra Cricket Association, was named administrative team manager for the tour.
2015 Kashmir Despatch