Cricket: Ravi Shastri named India coach, Zaheer Khan bowling consultant

Indian cricket coach Ravi Shastri speaking during a press conference prior to a training session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on March 5, 2016.
Indian cricket coach Ravi Shastri speaking during a press conference prior to a training session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on March 5, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

New Delhi (AFP) - Former captain Ravi Shastri was on Tuesday named the new head coach of India for a two-year period, ending weeks of speculation over the high-profile job after Anil Kumble's dramatic exit.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also appointed former paceman Zaheer Khan as the bowling consultant and Rahul Dravid as batting consultant for Tests in overseas tours.

"The term of the appointments will be till the World Cup 2019," the BCCI said in a late night release.

An advisory panel comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V. V. S. Laxman "conducted the interviews and recommended these appointments in the best interest" of the Indian cricket.

Shastri, 55, edged out a host of rival high-profile names in batting great Virender Sehwag, Australia's Tom Moody, Englishman Richard Pybus and former India manager Lalchand Rajput, who were interviewed in Mumbai on Monday.

The cricketer-turned-commentator lost out on the coveted post to Kumble in 2016 and only entered the race after the spin legend quit last month and the BCCI extended the date for applications.

Kumble resigned after his one-year term ended with the 50-over Champions Trophy in England and Wales, terming his relationship with skipper Virat Kohli as "untenable".

Shastri was always the frontrunner for the job, with pundits pointing to his time as India's team director from 2014-16 and warm relationship with Kohli as points in his favour.

"Mr Shastri has been the Team Director in the past, and brings with him a wealth of experience, both as player and as coach," the BCCI said.

However the appointment saw some added drama when the advisory panel insisted on consulting Kohli before naming their preferred candidate, while a Supreme Court-appointed committee overseeing BCCI affairs pressed on the need to announce the coach soon.

It is not clear whether Kohli, who is in the US, was consulted.