The invitation to put in applications for one of the most coveted jobs in the sport is out, with the BCCI seeking a coach who will take "India to the leadership position in all formats of the game." India have been without a coach/team director since Ravi Shastri's contract with the board ended following the conclusion of the World T20 in April.
Sanjay Bangar has been picked as an interim coach for the limited-overs tour to Zimbabwe, but it is Shastri who remains the focus. The former India all-rounder has been tipped to apply for the post, and the criteria â€“ BCCI have put out a nine-point conditions plan in their advertisement for the India coach job â€“ that suits Shastri the most is the board's preference for the candidate to "communicate in Hindi and other regional Indian languages."
That shows the BCCI would prefer an Indian coach, although the criteria only uses the word "desirable," meaning they are open to foreign candidates.
Another thing working in the favour of someone like Shastri or Rahul Dravid, the favourite of many to take up the job, is that the BCCI have not made it mandatory for the candidate to have a coaching certification/license.
While quite a few of the current India players would have no problems with Shastri returning to the helm â€“ India enjoyed a solid run under him, especially in Test match cricket, when Virat Kohli's men beat Sri Lanka and South Africa â€“ several other big names have also been linked to the job.
Chief of them, of course, is Dravid, who is currently the coach of the India junior teams, including the India A team. The key, as far as Dravid is concerned, will be if the batting legend is willing to make the sacrifice of being away from his family for prolonged periods of time, because taking up the India coach's job will mean a lot of travelling.
Apart from Dravid, the likes of Stuart Law and Daniel Vettori have also been linked, with the latter endorsed by the current Test captain Kohli, who has worked under the New Zealand in the IPL for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The BCCI will expect plenty of applications by the June 10 deadline, and it will be interesting to see who the Cricket Advisory Committee â€“ which consists of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman â€“ will pick. A head coach's job might not be as crucial in cricket as it is in other sports like football, but it is important that the board and their advisors pick the right person, considering the various challenges that lie ahead for the India team in the next couple of years.