It’s official: Gambhir to take over as India coach from Sri Lanka tour | Crickit
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It’s official: Gambhir to take over as India coach from Sri Lanka tour

Jul 10, 2024 06:56 AM IST

Former India player Abhishek Nayar who worked with Gambhir as assistant coach at KKR is likely to be one of the new support staff appointments

Mumbai: From Rahul Dravid’s ice-cool demeanor to the fierce competitor in Gautam Gambhir. From the process-driven methodical head coach to the furiously result-driven successor. That’s the adjustment the Indian cricket dressing room will have to make.

Newly appointed head coach will take charge of the India team in Sri Lanka. (AFP)
Newly appointed head coach will take charge of the India team in Sri Lanka. (AFP)

An open secret for the past two months, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made Gambhir’s appointment official on Tuesday.

Twice a World Cup winner as a player and the strategic brain behind IPL 2024 winners Kolkata Knight Riders, Gambhir will be joining the Indian team for the upcoming white-ball tour of Sri Lanka, starting July 27.

“Gambhir has been a fierce competitor and a brilliant strategist. We believe he will bring the same tenacity and leadership to his role as Head Coach. His transition to the role of Head Coach is a natural progression, and I believe he will bring out the best in our players,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.

“I have always taken pride while donning the Indian jersey during my playing days and it is going to be no different when I take up this new role. Cricket has been my passion and I look forward to working closely with the BCCI, Head of Cricket – Mr VVS Laxman, the support staff, and, most importantly, the players, as we work towards achieving success in the upcoming tournaments,” Gambhir said in his statement.

NAYAR LIKELY TO JOIN AS SUPPORT STAFF

Gambhir’s statement seems to suggest that Laxman who is currently overseeing the young Indian T20 team in Zimbabwe will share the coaching burden in lead up to the ODI Champions trophy, scheduled for February, next year. Gambhir will soon be joined by his own set of support staff. Former India player Abhishek Nayar who worked with Gambhir as assistant coach at KKR is likely to be one of the new support staff appointments. T Dilip, India’s fielding coach under Dravid is likely to get an extention.

It is learnt, Gambhir’s appointment is for three years until the 2027 ODI World Cup. Rohit Sharma has been reappointed captain until the conclusion of the World Test Championship, next June.

Much like Dravid, Gambhir is well acquainted with today’s sport, having been an active commentator and mentor with IPL teams – first with Lucknow Super Giants and later KKR. But unlike Dravid who came through the ranks coaching U19 and India A, Gambhir does not have a body of work (as coach) to fall back on.

As a player, his winning contributions in both the 2007 T20 World Cup final and the 2011 ODI World Cup final as well as his epic match saving second innings 137 in the Napier Test against New Zealand are performances that speak for his big match temperament beyond his numbers. Coaching though is a man-management exercise too. And to that end, the manner in which Gambhir coaches some of the bigger names of Indian cricket will be closely watched.

Form and fitness permitting, Virat Kohli may have a good three years of ODI and Test cricket in him. The two Delhi icons have had their share of on-field stormy moments in the past. That and his equation with captain Rohit will decide if they can take Indian cricket to achieving more peaks.

With Dravid, Rohit had slowly established a strong bond which he summarized in an Instagram post, hours before the Gambhir announcement came.

“You are an absolute stalwart of this game, but you left all of your accolades and achievements at the door and walked in as our coach and came on a level where we all felt comfortable enough to say just about anything to you,” Rohit wrote on Dravid. “My wife refers to you as my work wife and I’m lucky to get to call you that too.”

Gambhir has a backer in senior spinner R Ashwin. “Gautam Gambhir is a very misunderstood person. It’s all about perception. He is a competitor. His desire and hunger to win is unbelievable. I have massive respect (for him),” Ashwin recently said at his book launch.

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