NEW DELHI: India’s cricket board on Saturday made a U-turn on naming former paceman Zaheer Khan and batting great Rahul Dravid as consultants to the national Test team. The move came only four days after Khan and Dravid were named in the team to assist new coach Ravi Shastri. Just days before India leave for a tour of Sri Lanka, it added to a sense of chaos within Indian cricket’s leadership. Some reports said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had forced the pair on Shastri and a Supreme Court-appointed committee overseeing BCCI affairs said the ruling body had overstepped its powers.
The committee confirmed Shastri as head coach but said the “appointments of other consultants will be decided by the committee in consultation with the head coach.” The BCCI has formed yet another panel to decide on the role of Zaheer and Dravid or any other support staff that Shastri wishes to use for overseas tours. The BCCI said earlier it had picked the coaching staff until the 2019 World Cup, following recommendations made by former Test stars Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. However Indian media said the court appointed committee felt the Test greats had gone beyond their brief in appointing Shastri’s support staff.
Shastri took over following the dramatic exit of former Test captain Anil Kumble following the breakdown of his relationship with current skipper Virat Kohli. When they announced Dravid and Khan as batting and bowling consults, the BCCI said in a statement: “We sincerely feel that the new combination will steward the team to number one position in the World Cup.” India’s Supreme Court appointed a panel in January to run the affairs of the BCCI and make sure reforms ordered by the court are carried out.
Published in Daily Times, July 16th , 2017.