Ravi Shastri is team director; BCCI drops bowling, fielding coaches

Mumbai, Aug 19: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) finally acted tough Tuesday by clipping the wings of chief coach Duncan Fletcher following the team’s humiliating 1-3 Test series loss in England. Fielding coach Trevor Penney and bowling coach Joe Dawes, who were hand-picked by Fletcher, were dropped and former India captain Ravi Shastri was appointed director of the team for the ODI series starting Aug 25.

The BCCI earlier this year extended the contracts of both Penney and Dawes, along with Fletcher, till the 2015 World Cup. But in the aftermath of the team’s disastrous show in the five-match Test series against England, the board decided to drop Penney and Dawes. Under-fire Fletcher, 65, just managed to save his job and now Shastri will be the overall in-charge of the team. Fletcher took over from South African Gary Kirsten after the 2011 World Cup and India haven’t won an away Test series under him.

“In culmination of the discussions among all the office-bearers over the last couple of weeks, the BCCI has decided to avail the services of former India captain Ravi Shastri to oversee and guide the Indian cricket team for the forthcoming One-Day International (ODI) matches against England,” said a BCCI statement. ”Duncan Fletcher will continue as head coach while Ravi Shastri will be the overall in-charge of cricket affairs of the Indian team.”

On Penney and Dawes, the official line from the BCCI was that they were given a break for the five-match ODI series beginning Aug 25, but a top official said both coaches have been dropped. India’s slip catching was a cause of concern in the series, but Penney claimed there was no need to panic. ”They have actually been dropped. We will take a call on both Penney and Dawes after the series in over,” a top BCCI official told IANS.

The BCCI has also appointed former India all-rounder Sanjay Bangar and former fast bowler Bharat Arun as the assistant coaches while R. Sridhar, who was part of the now non-functional National Cricket Academy (NCA), will join as the fielding coach for the ODI series. It was after five years that BCCI has appointed Indians as assistant coaches. Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh, who were appointed in 2007, were sacked as the bowling and the fielding coaches in 2009. The official told IANS that Bangar, Arun and Sridhar could also stay on for the coming few series but only on the basis of their performance.