Anil Kumble stunned the cricketing world when he resigned from his post as India coach before the West Indies series due to differences with skipper Virat Kohli. The Caribbean tour is nearing its end and as Team India gear up to return home and shift focus to the Sri Lanka trip, the race for India's top coaching job is also reaching a climax. The interviews for the post will be held in Mumbai on Monday by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) with six candidates in the running. According to the buzz in the Indian media, former Team India director Ravi Shastri is the front-runner for the high-profile job.
According to reports, the BCCI received 10 CVs -- Shastri, Virender Sehwag, Tom Moody, Richard Pybus, Dodda Ganesh, Lalchand Rajput, Lance Klusener, Rakesh Sharma (Oman national team coach), Phil Simmons and Upendranath Bramhachari (engineer with no cricketing background), and shortlisted six candidates from them.
Here are the six candidates for India's next coach:
Ravi Shastri: The ironic part about this situation is that Shastri initially had not even applied for the job but when the BCCI extended the deadline for acceptance of applications, he threw his hat in the ring and quickly became the favourite. The advantage Shastri has over some of the other candidates is his good relationship with Kohli.
Another thing going for Shastri is his past experience with the Indian team. With Shastri as team director, India reached the semi-finals of 2015 ICC \World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. They reached the last four at the back of seven wins on a trot. India recorded a 3-0 win over Australia in the T20 series Down Under and against South Africa at home, India managed to win the Test series 3-0.
However, a roadblock stands in the way of the former Team India director in the form of CAC member Sourav Ganguly. The duo had a public spat with both taking potshots at each other.
Virender Sehwag: The swashbuckling former India opener is said to be another one of the favourites but he is also one of the most inexperienced candidates in the running. Sehwag's stint with the Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League is the one coaching highlight in his resume.
Barring a few mentor-ship roles, the 39-year-old doesn't have anything else to boast of in terms of coaching experience.
Lalchand Rajput: He might have stated that he is not in competition with Shastri or Sehwag but Rajput is still is in the reckoning to become the coach. The former India cricketer has been there and done that. He was appointed manager of the Indian team ahead of the inaugural 2007 World T20 in South Africa, and along with his support staff that included Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh, led the Men in Blue to title triumph.
Under Rajput, India also won the home ODI and Test series against Pakistan in 2007 and the 2008 ODI triangular series in Australia. The 55-year-old has the experience of coaching the U-19 and 'A' teams and has done a spectacular job as the current Afghanistan coach.
Tom Moody: Of all the foreigners in the running for the post, the Australian is by far the most qualified for the job. The two-time World Cup winner has rich credentials as an international and franchise coach, having coached Sri Lanka to the 2011 World Cup final and guided Sunrisers Hyderabad to an IPL triumph.
Moody had also appeared for the interview last year but lost out to Kumble. An advantage that Moody has is some of the similarities he shares with New Zealander John Wright, who had a successful stint as India coach.
The Australian has a calm demeanour and is more of a behind-the-scenes man and that could work as the perfect foil to the more outgoing personality of Indian skipper Virat Kohli.
Phil Simmons: The former West Indian all-rounder also boasts of a solid coaching record. Most notable of his stints came when he coached Ireland for eight years, making him the longest serving coach in international cricket.
Since he took charge in April 2007, the Irish quickly climbed up the ranks of the associate nations and their standing in world cricket grew immensely.
Simmons' tenure lasted 224 matches, during which Ireland won 11 trophies and qualified for every major ICC event, also registering wins over the West Indies and England in World Cup events. After taking over the reins of West Indies coach, he led the team to World T20 triumph in 2016.
Richard Pybus: The South African boasts of a brilliant domestic-level coaching record. He achieved huge success during his time as coach of the Titans and Cape Cobras -- nine titles in six seasons with the two teams.
At the international level, Pybus' claim to fame was leading Pakistan to the final of the 1999 World Cup final in England. The former South African cricketer also coached Bangladesh for a year, and therefore has the experience of coaching sub-continental teams.