New coach before Australia tour: Pawar


New Delhi : Stop-gap cricket manager Lalchand Rajput will remain for the home Test series against Pakistan starting this month and a permanent appointment would be made for the upcoming Australian tour, the cricket board announced Tuesday.

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Board president Sharad Pawar said that a meeting of the committee, headed by him, to select the coach would be held in Mumbai next month to pick the name for the Australian tour that starts Dec 20.

“We will talk to (Sunil) Gavaskar and (Ravi) Shastri and others who are members of the committee and as soon as possible we will hold a meeting to take a decision. Our desire is to appoint a new person for the Australia tour,” Pawar told reporters after a conclave of the board office-bearers.

Pawar did not mention the candidates in the fray.

The seven-member committee, also including former captain S. Venkataraghavan, N. Srinivasan (BCCI treasurer), Niranjan Shah (secretary) and M.P. Pandove (joint secretary), was to meet Nov 3 in Mumbai, but it was postponed due to Gavaskar’s unavailability.

Pawar answered in the negative when asked if Dav Whatmore was still in the race for the coach’s post. Whatmore has been appointed director of operations at the Bangalore-based BCCI National Cricket Academy.

Whatmore, who coached Sri Lanka to the 1996 World Cup, was initially keen to become India coach. Even Shastri, who is now NCA chairman, backed the Australian to the hilt. But, apparently, the other BCCI panel members did not agree with Shastri.

The team has not had a permanent coach since March when the two-year contract of former Australia captain Greg Chappell expired and he decided not to seek an extension.

After the World Cup, where India crashed out in the first round, Shastri was appointed the cricket manager for the Bangladesh tour in May. The Indian team then toured Ireland, Scotland and England, with former India player Chandu Borde as the cricket manager.

Rajput replaced Borde for India’s next assignment, the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side won the title.

Rajput was retained for the seven-match One-day International home series against Australia last month as well as the ongoing home ODI and Test series.

On Tuesday, he was confirmed by Pawar to carry on for the three-match Test series against Pakistan starting in Delhi Nov 22.