Bangalore: The Indian cricket coach's vacant chair has garnered tremendous interest after the resignation of Greg Chappell.
Ravi Shastri was the manager for India's tour of Bangladesh before going back to his media job and now attention is focussed on the BCCI's coach selection committee meeting scheduled at 8.30 p.m. here on Monday.
The seven-member committee that features BCCI President Sharad Pawar, Secretary Niranjan Shah, Joint Secretary M.P. Pandove, Treasurer N. Srinivasan and former captains Sunil Gavaskar, S. Venkatraghavan and Ravi Shastri will decide on the next Indian coach. Dav Whatmore is the top contender though other names such as Mohinder Amarnath and South African Graham Ford have been bandied around.
The BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah has already met Whatmore in Bangladesh, who has expressed his willingness to coach India. Whatmore has resigned as Bangladesh coach and is now expecting a call from the BCCI.
Interestingly, a clutch of former cricketers, notably Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev have opposed moves to hire a foreigner as coach.
Gavaskar in his newspaper columns has questioned Whatmore's cricketing intelligence and Kapil Dev has been quoted as asking, "Who is Whatmore? why should we discuss him?".
The presence of Gavaskar in the coach selection committee does hint that Monday's meeting will have a fair share of heated debate as the BCCI's top brass along with the senior cricketers in the Indian team have veered towards having a foreigner as coach and Whatmore has emerged as the favourite. Once the committee decides on the coach, the decision has to be ratified by the BCCI's working committee meeting at Delhi on June 12.
Prior to this crucial meeting, the BCCI's technical committee headed by Sunil Gavaskar will meet at the National Cricket Academy at 3 p.m. The technical committee is expected to discuss the suggestions aired in the captains' and coaches' conclave held in Mumbai earlier this year.