Lalchand Rajput joining the race to become India s batting coach means the competition for the role will become tougher with Vikram Rathour also eyeing Sanjay Bangar s role. @AFP

Ignored for the head coach’s position, Lalchand Rajput was among the aspirants appearing for interviews on Monday to pick the support staff of the Indian cricket team, joining heavyweights such as Venkatesh Prasad.

The senior selection committee, led by former stumper MSK Prasad, started an extensive process to pick the support staff.

The 57-year-old Rajput entering the fray means competition for the batting coach’s position could only get tougher with former Test opener Vikram Rathour already emerging as a strong contender to replace incumbent Sanjay Bangar.

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Among the incumbents, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar have emerged favourites to retain their posts after head coach Ravi Shastri stressed on retaining the staff.

However, Bangar still faces a tough challenge with most of the applications received for the batting coach’s post. The former India all-rounder has been with the team since 2014 during which India have played 50 Tests and 119 ODIs.

The process is expected to be completed only by Thursday after all the interviews for various positions including batting, bowling and fielding coach are done with.

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The current support staff comprising Bangar, Arun and Sridhar and administrative manager Sunil Subramanium were given a 45-day contract extension covering the ongoing tour of the West Indies.

Also eyeing the batting coach’s job are Pravin Amre, Mumbai stalwart Amol Mazumdar and Saurashtra’s batting bulwark Sitanshu Kotak.

It was learnt that former India batsman Hrishikesh Kanitkar and ex-Delhi batsman Mithun Manas also appeared for interview before the five-member panel. One of the candidates said that giving presentation was not mandatory.

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For the position of bowling coach, former India pacers Venkatesh Prasad, Paras Mbabrey and Amit Bhandari appeared for the interview.

Last week, the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev, former player and coach Anshuman Gaikwad and former women’s captain Shantha Rangaswamy had reappointed Shastri as the team’s coach till the end of T20 World Cup in 2021.

The CAC had also asked for a say in the process to select the support staff, but the BCCI constitution doesn’t allow that.

As per the criteria for batting, bowling and fielding coach, the three personnel should have played at least 10 Tests or 25 ODIs and be less than 60 years of age. The process to choose the support staff will continue on Tuesday.