Will Rahul Dravid become Team India's next coach?

Shastri’s tenure ends after the T20 World Cup. While Shastri is reportedly not keen to continue, BCCI officials said it’s a call that will be taken based on India’s showing in the October-November World Cup.
Photos of Rahul Dravid (L) and Ravi Shastri (R)(HT Collage) PREMIUM
Photos of Rahul Dravid (L) and Ravi Shastri (R)(HT Collage)
Updated on Aug 11, 2021 11:12 PM IST
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ByRasesh Mandani, Mumbai

The Indian cricket board has invited applications for the Director of National Cricket Academy (NCA), a post currently held by Rahul Dravid. The 48-year-old former captain has been in charge of NCA since 2019, seamlessly moving into the role from his position as head coach for the India U-19 and India A teams. The call for applications, coming soon after reports that current India coach Ravi Shastri may not seek an extension, has led to speculation that Dravid is being seen as Shastri's successor.

Shastri’s tenure ends after the T20 World Cup. While Shastri is reportedly not keen to continue, BCCI officials said it’s a call that will be taken based on India’s showing in the October-November World Cup.

Dravid has already had a taste of the job. He went as the coach with the Indian white ball teams to Sri Lanka in July.

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There is only one problem--Dravid is reluctant to spend too much time away from his family in Bengaluru.

"There are a lot of challenges doing full time roles, so I really don't know,” Dravid had said after the Sri Lanka series when asked about whether he is considering applying for the India coach's job.

He did not reply to messages sent on his phone.

This may be a problem even if Dravid reapplies for the NCA post he currently holds, because the BCCI wants to give a wider role to whoever becomes the next director of cricket.

“There’s no doubting Dravid’s role in creating a performance pathway for Indian cricket,” said a BCCI source. “But if decides to reapply, he should be at peace to undertake a lot more travel. It will be a more hands-on role and not just restricted to the development process.”

The responsibilities listed out for the new director includes coaching roles with multiple development squads (India A, U-23, U-19, U-16, etc.) including training camps and tours.

The quiet and unassuming Dravid is often credited with being the man behind India's phenomenal bench strength, an assembly line of players who have stepped up to the senior squad to not just fill gaps as required but make strong claims for just about every role in the team.

The new NCA director is also expected to work closely with the national team's head coach and selectors, as well as work in conjunction with IPL teams regarding workload management of fast bowlers and be the final authority on whether an injured player is fit to return.

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This is an effort to give the NCA director decision-making powers in leading cricket matters, while he reports to the board secretary.

As for Shastri's run as India coach, board officials said "it's performance and not the 60 years age-limit” that would be the determining factor for the 59-year-old Shastri. The current coach and his support staff have had a long stint with the team. Shastri was first appointed as team director in 2014. Except for one year in the middle (2016-17) when Anil Kumble was appointed head coach, Shastri and his staff have been a constant. In that time, the Virat Kohli led side has become one of the best Test teams in the world, though they have also stumbled thrice in knockout matches in major ICC events.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Rasesh Mandani loves a straight drive. He has been covering cricket, the governance and business side of sport for close to two decades. He writes and video blogs for HT.

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