With the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 starting in England on Thursday, the countdown on Anil Kumble's tenure as India's head coach has also begun. As the deadline to apply for one of the most coveted positions in world cricket ended on Wednesday, it is reported that Kumble's one-year contract, which is due to expire at the conclusion of the mega tournament, was unlikely to get extended.
According to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sources close to India TV, five people have applied for the top post. Among the five, three are Indians - Virender Sehwag, Lalchand Rajput and former Karnataka fast bowler Dodda Ganesh, while two are foreigners - former Australian cricketer Tom Moody and Englishman Richard Pybus.
The candidates will be interviewed by the all-powerful Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman.
The board on May 25 invited applications for head coach's post, sending a reminder to head coach Kumble that he will not get an automatic extension.
While Kumble being the current coach gets a "direct entry" into the interview process, the timing of BCCI's announcement made it clear that the top brass has not exactly been happy with the legendary leg-spinner. The reason being the aggressive stance asking for a massive hike in central contracts for players and his own salary.
India had a great domestic season under Kumble winning 10 out of the 13 home Tests with two draws and a single defeat against Australia on a rank turner at Pune. Also under Kumble, India won a Test series comprehensively in the West Indies.
But of late, Kumble's stance on players' pay hike and the manner of his demands have not gone down well with the board.
Recent media reports of a rift between Kumble and captain Virat Kohli have put the board in a tight corner and the BCCI top brass seems to be on damage control mode and some key officials are likely to meet the duo separately in Birmingham.
Questions are also being raised as to whether Kumble, an Indian cricketing legend, will be again taking part in the interview process despite his stupendous record, after what all has transpired in the past 72 hours.
BCCI's joint secretary Amitabh Chaudhary and GM (Cricket Operations) MV Sridhar are scheduled to reach Birmingham on Wednesday and are expected to take the initiative to speak to the coach and captain in order to understand the current situation.
It has been learnt that BCCI will start with the process of coaches' interview after the Pakistan match on June 4. The BCCI is clear that the decision should be taken before the team leaves for the West Indies after the Champions Trophy.