Gautam Gambhir runaway favourite to become new India head coach, Jay Shah's clarification biggest hint | Crickit

Gautam Gambhir runaway favourite to become new India head coach, Jay Shah's clarification biggest hint

May 24, 2024 04:24 PM IST

The BCCI secretary's clarification may have just tilted the odds in Gautam Gambhir's favour.

For the first time since the position of India's head coach was finalised to be left vacant after the T20 World Cup, we may have the first big hint as to who Rahul Dravid's successor will be. Over the last couple of weeks, several names have been floated around – VVS Laxman, Stephen Fleming, Justin Langer and Ricky Ponting to name a few, out of which only Fleming's candidature sounds credible. Langer and Ponting were never approached as per BCCI secretary Jay Shah's statement, and Laxman is not too keen to be on the road 365 days a year.

Is the BCCI tilting towards Gautam Gambhir to become India's next coach?(BCCI)
Is the BCCI tilting towards Gautam Gambhir to become India's next coach?(BCCI)

This leaves only two candidates in the fray – Fleming and Gautam Gambhir, whose success story with Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2024 has captured the attention of the BCCI top brass. With Fleming's status uncertain, Gambhir is the sole name left in contention. Remember, the deadline to submit applications ends on May 27, and the clock is ticking, with a decision expected shortly thereafter.

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Fleming's reluctance stems from the demanding nature of the job. Even CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan said 'it's not his cup of tea'. A report carried out by The Hindustan Times even suggested that if push comes to shove, MS Dhoni might be asked to convince Fleming to take up the role but that ship too seems to have sailed.

However, if one is to read between the lines, the BCCI secretary's clarification suggests that Gambhir is the odds-on favourite to become India's next. While all the attention was on how BCCI's stance does not match with what either Ponting or Langer had to say, the biggest takeaway was Jay Shah's indication that the next coach will be India, of which Gambhir is the only one that fits the criteria.

"We are focused on identifying individuals who possess a deep understanding of the Indian cricket structure and have risen through the ranks. It is crucial that our coach has an in-depth knowledge of our domestic cricket framework to truly elevate Team India to the next level," read his statements, which pretty much sums up that the next coach will be an Indian, and most probably Gambhir.

What Gambhir's appointment could mean for Team India

However, Gambhir's appointment is easier said than done. The former India opener is serving as the mentor of Kolkata Knight Riders, and given the controversial 'Conflict of Interest' clause, if Gambhir becomes head coach, he will have to let go of his role with KKR. As mentor. Gambhir has a deep knowledge and understanding of players and their behaviour, which is part of BCCI's requirement. Having been with Lucknow Super Giants for the last two seasons and KKR this year, leading his teams to the IPL Playoffs.

Even if Gambhir can somehow keep both roles, juggling between India coach and KKR mentorship would mean he would have to be on the road all the time. The legendary Wasim Akram mentioned how Gambhir has two young daughters and a lovely family, so at the end of the day, it all boils down to what he wants. Of all the reports emerging, only Gambhir has yet to decline the offer, and his fans would be hoping he doesn't. He is an astute leader, speaks what's in his mind, and is highly against the superstar culture. For all you know, Gambhir becoming Team India head coach could be one of the biggest steps ever taken in Indian cricket.

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