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Gambhir to succeed Dravid as Indian cricket head coach: Sources

Gambhir to succeed Dravid as Indian cricket head coach: Sources

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had called for applications for the head coach position as Dravid's tenure is set to conclude in June.

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Gambhir to succeed Dravid as Indian cricket head coach: Sources Gambhir to succeed Dravid as Indian cricket head coach: Sources

In a major shake-up within Indian cricket, IPL-winning mentor and former World Cup hero Gautam Gambhir is set to replace Rahul Dravid as the head coach of the Indian senior men’s national team, IndiaToday.in has learnt. Despite his recent commitments to the IPL franchise Knight Riders, Gambhir is ready to take on the national coaching role, marking a significant career shift.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had called for applications for the head coach position as Dravid's tenure is set to conclude in June. The deadline for applications was May 27. Speculation around Gambhir's appointment intensified during the latter stages of the IPL 2024 season, particularly given his recent return to the Knight Riders as a mentor, leading them to their third IPL title on May 26.

Gambhir, who captained KKR to two IPL titles as a player, rejoined the franchise this season and made an immediate impact. His successful stint as a mentor, where he garnered immense respect from the KKR ownership group, was pivotal in KKR's victorious campaign. Despite his deep ties with KKR, sources indicate that Gambhir is prepared to take up the national coaching challenge.

Although no formal offer has been extended, informal discussions between BCCI officials and Gambhir have advanced significantly. The turning point came after the IPL final, where BCCI Secretary Jay Shah was seen in a prolonged conversation with Gambhir at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium, fueling further speculation about his appointment.

It remains uncertain if the BCCI will proceed with interviews for the head coach position through the Cricket Advisory Committee, despite earlier statements by Jay Shah indicating a formal selection process. Gambhir's lack of direct coaching experience at the highest level is offset by his successful mentorship roles in the IPL, particularly his leadership and man-management skills.

Gambhir's coaching journey began in 2022 with the Lucknow franchise, leading them to playoff berths in consecutive seasons alongside head coach Andy Flower. His return to KKR saw him galvanize a talented squad, earning praise from players, support staff, and co-owner Shah Rukh Khan for his clarity and unifying approach.

Gambhir's expertise in nurturing talent and providing strategic direction is expected to be crucial as the national team transitions, moving past some of its longstanding stalwarts. His emphasis on backing young players and fostering a team-centric ethos aligns with the future goals of Indian cricket.

In the interim, the BCCI had explored other options, including former New Zealand opener Stephen Fleming and former SunRisers head coach Tom Moody. However, both Australian candidates, Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer, were not considered, as confirmed by Jay Shah.

Edited By: Bikash Chetry
Published On: May 31, 2024