Muscat: Former Oman under-19 team coach Rakesh Sharma is among the 10 candidates in the running for the post of India's coaching job.
According to a Press Trust of India (PTI) report, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) received 10 applications including that of Rakesh Sharma, who represented Oman both at the Asian and world level and then went on to coach the national teams.
A useful all-rounder, who honed his fast bowling skills at the MRF Pace Foundation in south Indian city of Chennai early in his career, Rakesh Sharma represented the Sultanate's squad in various international tournaments, including ICC World Cup qualifiers and Gulf Cup, in the first decade of 2000. In the domestic league, he also played for Muscat CT.
Rakesh's achievements as a coach includes leading Oman to second place in 2013 ACC U-19 Challenge Cup tournament in Thailand. Before and after that tournament, Rakesh also coached Oman in the ACC T20 tournaments and World Cup Qualifying rounds.
Though a qualified coach, who also conducted coaching courses in Oman, Rakesh is unlikely to get the India job with top names including former India stars Ravi Shastri and Virender Sehwag and Australian Tom Moody in the running for the coveted post.
According to the PTI report, former team director Ravi Shastri will be the front-runner when the three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) meets on Monday to scrutinise candidates .
The others who are in the running are Richard Pybus, Dodda Ganesh, Lalchand Rajput, Lance Klusener, Phil Simmons and Upendranath Bramhachari, who is an engineer with no cricketing background.
It is learnt that the CAC will interview six of the 10 candidates. As per sources, the six likely candidates are Shastri, Sehwag, Moody, Simmons, Pybus and Rajput.
Klusener, as of now, may be kept on stand-by but has very little or no chance of getting the job.
The position had fallen vacant after former head coach and legendary spinner Anil Kumble resigned from the post before the West Indies series due to differences with skipper Virat Kohli.
After the Kumble-Kohli saga, the CAC will have to be prudent in its choice as the new coach will be given a two-year contract.
Shastri had initially not applied for the post but when the BCCI extended the deadline for acceptance of applications till July 9, the former skipper jumped into the fray and suddenly became the hot favourite.
Given his cordial equation with Virat, Shastri, who had a successful tenure as team director with India reaching the 50 over World Cup semifinal, is the favourite.
However, it is still not clear what would be the view point of Saurav Ganguly, with whom Shastri had a very public spat with both taking potshots at each other.
Shastri had then alleged that Ganguly wasn't present when he was being interviewed via Skype. Ganguly had responded that had Shastri been serious, he should have appeared in person for the interview.
The other notable candidate is flamboyant opener Sehwag. Sehwag was a genius in his own rights, but his coaching credentials are yet to be proved. A two-year stint as Kings XI Punjab mentor has not yielded the desired results.
Moody can't be totally ruled out because of his rich credentials as an international and franchise coach. He had coached Sri Lanka to the 2011 World Cup final and guided Sunrisers Hyderabad to an IPL triumph.
Moody had also appeared last year for an interview but lost out to Kumble, who was too big a name to be ignored.
What works for Moody is his calm demeanour and ability to work from behind the scenes.
In case Moody comes in, McDermott could be a good choice as bowling coach, though both are from the same country.
If Shastri is picked, then Bharath Arun will be back as bowling coach of the team.
Klusener has also applied for the post with some experience of coaching provincial sides in domestic leagues in South Africa.
Simmons has been a good coach for smaller teams like Afghanistan and Ireland. He had a stormy stint with the West Indies team as he had issues with regards to team selection.