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Ravi Shastri appointed Indian cricket team's new head coach, Zaheer Khan named bowling coach

Former India skipper Ravi Shastri appointed as head coach of Team India, Zaheer Khan to handle the responsibility of bowling coach.

Written by: Subhasish Dutta, New Delhi [ Updated: July 12, 2017 11:16 IST ]
A file image of Ravi Shastri and Zaheer Khan
A file image of Ravi Shastri and Zaheer Khan

Former captain Ravi Shastri was on Tuesday named as the new head coach of the Indian cricket team. Along with Shastri, former pacer Zaheer Khan has been appointed as team's bowling coach. Meanwhile, former captain Rahul Dravid, who is currently the coach of India A and India U-19 teams, will serve as batting consultant for India's overseas tours.

"On Cricket Advisory Committee's recommendation, we have decided to appoint Ravi Shastri as the chief coach while Zaheer Khan will be appointed bowling coach for a period of two years," BCCI acting president CK Khanna has confirmed the development.

"Rahul Dravid will also help the senior team as a batting consultant on overseas tours -- specifically to countries like South Africa, England and Australia," Khanna added.

The 55-year-old Shastri, who has previously served as India's Team Director between 2014 and 2016, will replace Anil Kumble at the top post. Kumble, a former India captain, decided to step down from the post of India's head coach following the conclusion of last month's ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England, citing a breakdown in his relationship with captain Virat Kohli.

Shastri's first assignment will be India's tour of Sri Lanka, starting July 26. The Indian team will play three Tests, five ODIs and one-off T20I in the Island nation.

Shastri was selected from a pool of five shortlisted candidates who had applied for one of the most glamorous and high-profile jobs in world cricket. Along with Shastri, Virender Sehwag, Tom Moody, Richard Pybus and Lalchand Rajput were in the fray and appeared in the interview process.

According to sources, it was a close fight between Shastri and Virender Sehwag but it was due to skipper Virat Kohli's strong recommendation about Shastri's earlier tenure that swung the deal in favour of the former all-rounder.

The interviews were conducted at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters in Mumbai on Monday by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. While Ganguly and Laxman were present at the venue, Tendulkar joined his former colleagues via Skype from London. 

After the conclusion of the interview process on Monday, the CAC held back in naming the coach, saying that it needs to consult captain Virat Kohli before reaching a decision.

Shastri remained an overwhelming favourite for the job owing to his friendly relations with Kohli and also with many of the other young players in the Indian team. The former India all-rounder was overlooked last time when had applied for the same position and was eventually tipped over by Kumble, who came out as the preferred candidate of the CAC. The entire saga caused a massive rift with Shastri blaming Ganguly for his candidature being rejected. Shastri had accused Ganguly of not being present when he had given his interview via skype. Ganguly, on the other hand, reasoned that the applicant for an important job like the India team coach must be present in person during the interview. 

During his stint as the Team Director, Shastri guided the team to the semi-finals of the 50-over World Cup in 2015 and the ICC World T20 the following year. 

Meanwhile, Zaheer Khan, who last played international cricket in 2014, is considered as one of finest exponents of swing bowling India has ever produced. 

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