Gautam Gambhir contacted by BCCI to replace Rahul Dravid as next Team India head coach: Report | Crickit
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Gautam Gambhir contacted by BCCI to replace Rahul Dravid as next Team India head coach: Report

May 17, 2024 08:13 PM IST

The BCCI has reportedly approached Gautam Gambhir to become India's next head coach, taking the reins from the outgoing Rahul Dravid.

Move aside Stephen Fleming, Ricky Ponting and VVS Laxman. Gautam Gambhir is the latest name that has captured the attention of the BCCI to become India's next head coach. ESPNCricinfo has reported that the Board of Control for Cricket in India has reached out to the former opener as they look for the outgoing Rahul Dravid's replacement. The board had also reportedly approached Stephen Fleming for the role, but since the tenure extends till the 2027 World Cup, the former New Zealand captain remained apprehensive.

Rohit Sharma (L) and Gautam Gambhir: Are we looking at India's next captain-coach combo?(PTI)
Rohit Sharma (L) and Gautam Gambhir: Are we looking at India's next captain-coach combo?(PTI)

Gambhir, currently serving as a mentor with Kolkata Knight Riders, does not have official coaching experience, but his time with KKR and the last two seasons with Lucknow Super Giants has made BCCI view him as the ideal candidate. LSG reached back-to-back IPL Playoffs in 2022 and 2023, while this year, after returning to the franchise he captained to two IPL wins under Gambhir, KKR not only advanced to the Playoffs but finished top of the table.

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As of now, the BCCI and Gambhir are still in the nascent stages of discussions, with a deadline set for May 27. Further talks are expected to take place after the Kolkata Knight Riders complete their season, with the IPL concluding on May 26. Dravid has informed the BCCI of his decision not to extend his term, and the board is cautious about disrupting operations at the National Cricket Academy, where Laxman is currently serving as director.

According to the BCCI's requirements, a potential coach must have played a minimum of 30 Tests or 50 ODIs. Gambhir, a two-time World Cup winner for India in 2007 and 2011, meets the criteria. He also led the Kolkata Knight Riders for seven years, during which the team scripted the longest unbeaten streak in IPL history. After his successful stint with KKR, Gambhir returned to Delhi Capitals (then Daredevils).

Until last year, Gambhir's only association with cricket was during the IPL and occasionally as a broadcaster. However, having wrapped up his political career earlier this year, Gambhir's return to cricket was celebrated, with KKR benefiting the most from it. It is also believed that Team India's senior statesmen, such as Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, are keen to have a coach with proper pedigree; hence, with Fleming and Ricky Ponting out of the picture due to time constraints, Gambhir's chances are high.

Gautam Gambhir on excellent terms with seniors Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma

Gambhir has always gotten along well with Rohit, and although there have been tension-filled years between him and Kohli, the two have mended the fences. After last year's ugly scenes, Gambhir and Kohli hugged it out and buried the hatchet once and for all. Kohli and Gambhir were seen having a lengthy and healthy chat ahead of Round 2 of KKR vs RCB and are believed to be on excellent terms.

More importantly, Gambhir is known to spit facts. Not a fan of the superstar culture, Gambhir can actually be a solution to India's long-standing woes in ICC tournaments. Even inside the dressing room, Gambhir's demeanour is well-received by the players – youngsters and seniors alike – which is just what the doctor ordered.

Dravid, appointed head coach of the Indian team in November 2021, will end his stint with the T20 World Cup. In a little less than three years, Dravid's list of accomplishments includes India winning the Asia Cup and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy last year, as well as reaching the final of the World Cup, the semifinal of the T20 World Cup, and the final of the second World Test Championship.

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