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Head Coach selection Drama : COA puts all coaches’ contracts on hold

Picture Courtesy : The Indian Express
Picture Courtesy : The Indian Express

Two days after the appointment of Ravi Shastri as chief coach and Zaheer Khan as bowling consultant, it was learnt on Thursday that the Committee of Administrators (CoA) has put the contract drafts for the three on hold and asked for the drafts when they meet on Saturday. Thereby adding another twist to the head coach selection drama

According to report in Times of India, “The BCCI’S legal team was working on the contracts. But the CoA asked us to first show them the drafts. Given the situation, it does look like Shastri’s wish to have Bharat Arun as a full-time bowling coach will be accepted. And the way the contract is likely to shape, it will be difficult for Zaheer to accept the role of a consultant on a tour-to-tour basis,” a top BCCI official told TOI late on Thursday. “It will be an internal meeting and they said they will discuss the quantum of payment,” the source added.

Interestingly, BCCI, while clearing the air on the appointments in its statement on Thursday night, has claimed that Zaheer’s proposed role was only for tour-to-tour basis which was contrary to the first release issued on Tuesday night, which only defined such a role for Rahul Dravid.

“This was specifically the reason why the CAC wanted some time before announcing the coaches. They wanted to have everyone on board. But the COA got involved and rushed the announcement,” the official added.

Shastri is likely to meet the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) members on Monday to discuss the role of Team India’s bowling coach.

Shastri’s primary concern is whether Zaheer would be available all the time for the team. “Is Zaheer willing to give 250 days a year to the team? He can come in and help Arun whenever required. Arun will be around with the team all the time and Shastri trusts his work,” a source close to the development told TOI on Thursday

Sources said Shastri is adamant on having Arun, who served as the bowling coach during his last stint as team director, back on board despite the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) having named Zaheer the bowling consultant.

Last year, Zaheer couldn’t be roped in because BCCI wasn’t willing to pay Rs 4 crore reportedly demanded by the former India pace spearhead.

“The board has been chasing him for over a year now. He was reluctant to serve full-time then. He hasn’t said ‘no’ yet. So the decision as per the CAC stands. Once Zaheer sees the contract, he can decide for himself whether he wants to stay with the team full-time. As of now, he should be travelling to Sri Lanka with the team next week,” a top BCCI official told TOI.

An important point is that if Zaheer does agree to a full-time job, the board will have to compensate him monetarily for quitting Delhi Daredevils, just as BCCI has done with Rahul Dravid. “The coaching budget of the board will certainly hit the ceiling, and it doesn’t look nice to have major disparity in salaries of the support staff. It will be interesting to see once the contract is rolled out,” the official said.

In an interview to TOI on Thursday, Shastri clearly stated that he believed he was entitled to pick his support staff. However, Shastri is not averse to the idea of having Zaheer around as the bowling consultant.

“Shastri has asked for just one thing. He doesn’t mind Zaheer as a consultant but Arun has more technical experience in ironing out flaws,” the source added. “No doubt Zaheer has a lot of knowledge but he has no coaching experience. Everyone saw what happened when Anil Kumble was rushed into the job. Zaheer can be groomed to become a proper bowling coach,” the source reckoned.

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