Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli 'sit and sort out issues' as KKR mentor's 'stocks rise' in BCCI for India coach gig: Report | Crickit
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Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli 'sit and sort out issues' as KKR mentor's 'stocks rise' in BCCI for India coach gig: Report

May 22, 2024 10:12 AM IST

Gautam Gambhir has emerged as the front-runner to replace Rahul Dravid as Team India's next head coach.

It appears that Gautam Gambhir has emerged as the outright favourite among the BCCI in the hunt to find the next head coach of the Indian cricket team. With Rahul Dravid's term ending with the T20 World Cup, names of several candidates – from Stephen Fleming to Justin Langer – have made news as The Wall's potential successor. However, none of them is as convincing as Gambhir, who, as mentor of the Kolkata Knight Riders, led KKR to their fourth IPL final with a convincing eight-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

Gautam Gambhir (L) and Virat Kohli were all smiles earlier this month(PTI)
Gautam Gambhir (L) and Virat Kohli were all smiles earlier this month(PTI)

The BCCI has yet to speak with Gambhir, but the Times of India has reported that the conversation is expected to happen anytime during KKR's stay in Ahmedabad. For all you know, the discussion may have already taken place, and the outcome could be awaited. The only challenge for Gambhir is the demanding nature of the role. India's next head coach will remain in charge for the next three years – until the 2027 World Cup – and with Gambhir, who will be on the road with the team, also serving as the mentor to KKR – he will be left with absolutely no time to spend with family. Like Wasim Akram pointed out, the decision rests entirely with Gambhir.

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"There has been no formal communication with the potential candidates. All these coaches are biding their time and weighing options. But it seems Gambhir's stocks have risen. It is likely that the board officials will speak with Gambhir in Ahmedabad, where he is with KKR for the IPL playoffs," TOI quoted a BCCI source as saying.

Gambhir-Kohli rift now a thing of past

The report also quashed the possibility of Gambhir's rapport with some seniors – primarily Virat Kohli – within the team, acting as a hindrance. Gambhir's ugly spat with Kohli during last year's IPL was one of the most controversial and unprofessional acts in the league's history, but one year removed, all seems to be well between the two former Delhi and India teammates. The idea of friction between Gambhir and Kohli was laid to rest last month when the two let bygones be bygones, buried the hatchet and hugged it out. Apparently, Kohli and Gambhir were made to clear out their issues, if any, following last year's IPL.

"If people are talking about Gambhir's friction with Virat Kohli, it can be confirmed that the two have always got along well off the field. Even after the bust-up during an IPL match last year, the two were made to sit down and sort out any issue if they indeed had one," the report further stated.

Striking a good rapport between the coach and players is a high priority of BCCI, and following how things fell out between Anil Kumble and Kohli back in 2017, the board is believed to be extra cautious in selecting the candidate. Gambhir is an astute figure behind the KKR doors and gets along well with seniors and youngsters alike. His differences with Kohli are now a thing of the past; Gambhir shares a cordial relationship with captain Rohit Sharma too, as do the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and others.

The deadline to apply is May 26 – just four days away – and while the BCCI has time to announce India's next head coach, a decision could be made sometime during the T20 World Cup.

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