Indian head coach Ravi Shastri is likely to step down from his role following the conclusion of the ICC T20 World Cup in November this year. According to some reports, Shastri has already conveyed his intention to the BCCI. Following Anil Kumble’s exit as a coach, Shastri took over the responsibility in 2017. With him as a coach, India registered two consecutive Test series triumphs in Australia. However, they fell short of clinching an ICC title. India went down to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup semi-final as well as the World Test Championship (WTC) final earlier this year. In case, Shastri does decide to step down as coach, here are potential candidates who could replace him.
As of now, Rahul Dravid does seem like the most suitable candidate to replace Shastri. He already shares a great rapport with most of the current Indian team members as well as the upcoming talents. Dravid has worked with the India A and India U-19 guys in the past, a number of whom have gone on to represent the senior side. He was the coach when Prithvi Shaw lifted the U-19 World Cup a few years ago. Dravid even mentored the limited-overs squad in Sri Lanka recently. Considering all the above factors, he looks like the best replacement for Shastri. The big question is whether the NCA head is ready for the challenge.
When it comes to coaches, former Australian all-rounder Tom Moody is one of the best going around. During his playing days, he was part of two World Cup wins. Moody was also the coach when Sri Lanka made it to the 2007 World Cup final in West Indies. He has had a long association with Sri Lankan cricket and was even named the ‘Director of Sri Lankan Cricket’ earlier this year. A shrewd thinker, he has experience of coaching T20 franchises, including IPL’s Sunrisers Hyderabad. He has applied for the post of India’s coach in the past as well and could do so again.
Along with the aggressive Brendon McCullum, Mike Hesson played a role in giving a boost to New Zealand’s fortunes in the 2010s. He proved a perfect foil to McCullum and the players as a good manager of men. These days, Hesson works as the Director of IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). And the way RCB have performed, one can feel that he has certainly made a difference. Also, India and RCB captain Virat Kohli has been working with Hesson and seems to enjoy a good relationship with the coach. So, that might potentially be a vote in Hesson’s favour.
Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene featured in back-to-back World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011. The Lankans lost both but Jayawardene scored a scintillating hundred in the latter game. He is one of the greatest batters to have graced the sport. As a coach, he is having a highly memorable stint with Mumbai Indians, the most successful IPL franchise. His pairing with captain Rohit Sharma is becoming legendary in IPL history and he could be in the fray for Team India coach as well.
Australia’s Trevor Bayliss has a legendary resume as a coach. He oversaw England’s transformation from underachievers to World Champions in the 50-over format in the period from 2015-2019. He was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) set-up that won two IPL crowns in 2012 and 2014. Also, he is the head coach of the SunRisers Hyderabad franchise. Bayliss succeeded Tom Moody as the coach of the Sri Lankan national in 2007. He guided the side to the 2011 World Cup final, which Sri Lanka lost, after which he left the post. Bayliss was the coach when Sydney Sixers won the BBL title in the 2011–12 season and the CLT20 title the same year.