Vikram Rathour replaces Bangar as batting coach

Vikram Rathour replaces Bangar as batting coach

Vikram Rathour. (DH Photo)

Former opener Vikram Rathour will replace Sanjay Bangar as India's new batting coach while Bharath Arun and R Sridhar were expectedly retained as bowling and fielding coaches respectively.

The senior national selection committee headed by MSK Prasad on Thursday recommended three names each for all the support staff positions and the top names in each category will be appointed after the formalities with regards to Conflict of Interest declaration is complete.

The 50-year-old Rathour has played six Tests and seven ODIs in 1996 without much success but was a domestic heavyweight for Punjab. Till 2016, he was a senior national selector under Sandeep Patil's chairmanship.

As per the recommendations of the selection committee, incumbent Sanjay Bangar came second while former England batsman Mark Ramprakash was third.

In case of Arun, there was no debate that the Indian bowling attack had become world-class and it was reported by PTI last month that he would be retained as the bowling coach. India A coach Paras Mhambrey came second and former bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad was third.

The most surprising aspect was Jonty Rhodes not featuring in the fielding coach's shortlist where Sridhar predictably is going to continue. India A and U-19 fielding coach Abhay Sharma came second while T Dilip came third.

In case of Rathour, he had earlier applied for NCA batting consultant and U-19 batting coach's position but his application was put on hold as his brother-in-law Ashish Kapoor is the chairman of the U-19 selection committee.

"Vikram Rathour has got enough experience and we are convinced with his skill sets (as a coach). We will ask him to declare if he has any conflict (of interest)," BCCI CEO Rahul Johri told reporters.

It was evident post-India's World Cup semi-final exit that Bangar will find it difficult to continue as his report card has been pretty poor. It was widely believed that the decision to send Mahendra Singh Dhoni at No. 7 in the semi-final against New Zealand was primarily his decision and in all probability cost him his job.

Prasad, however, dismissed rumors that Bangar was made the scapegoat as he termed his committee's recommendations were free and fair from all bias.

" I don't agree with that and we heard his (Bangar) presentation and after hearing his presentation. Let anybody say anything, in the most honest and fair manner, we have conducted the interviews and we felt that Vikram Rathour was the first preference for us," Prasad said.

"Frankly speaking if you see last five years (since 2014), definitely there is some amount of improvement, looking ahead with the Test Championship coming up and 2 World T20s (2020 and 2021), we thought there should be some freshness in that (batting) department, so that's the reason why we went ahead with Vikram Rathour as the first choice," Prasad told reporters adding that his committee had an informal discussion with interim Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) members Kapil Dev and Anshuman Gaekwad.

Prasad said Rathour has enough coaching experience even though he has not worked with a senior national team.

"He (Rathour) was the director of HPCA (Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association) and he was also the coach of Punjab Ranji team. He was also the assistant coach (batting) of Kings XI Punjab, so he has got enough experience behind him," Prasad said about his former selection committee colleague.

"Apart from that, he has been doing a lot of assignments with National Cricket Academy, so we are convinced with his skill sets. We thought that he would be our first preference as of now."

Former Mumbai Indians physio Nitin Patel, who was part of India's support staff during the victorious 2011 World Cup campaign, is all set for a comeback, pipping Andrew Leipus, who is second on the shortlist.

Englishman Luke Woodhouse, former Delhi Capitals trainer S Rajnikanth, Anand Date, Grant Luden and Nick Webb are in contention for the strength and conditioning coach's job.

However, all of them appeared for oral interviews via Skype and they will have a practical test at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) before a final call is taken.

The other notable candidate set to lose his job is incumbent administrative manager Sunil Subramaniam, who is set to be removed for his alleged misbehavior towards top diplomats of the Indian government during the ongoing tour of West Indies.

Girish Dongre has emerged as the top candidate with Venkatesh Rajagopalan as the second choice and Anand Yalvigi as the third.

"We have seen the most experienced guy (Dongre) in this department, who is been into it department for last 10 years and he was the most appreciated guy when any foreign teams come to India, so his 10 years of experience really went in his way.

Prasad also made it clear that there were no such suggestions from Indian team management that they would only prefer Indian support staff.

He also made it clear that three shortlisted names are a mere formality unless the second or the third candidate is being potentially seen for India A or NCA job.

"See, ideally if you look at number one choices, I think we have seen all aspects like Conflict of Interest, they will be taking their jobs. There is no point in looking at second and third positions except in one case where we brought in Mark Ramprakash," he said.

"Otherwise, I don't really see taking them for second and third slots, we will using them for India A cricket and we might use them for NCA also."

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