CAC interviews Gautam Gambhir, a step closer to becoming India head coach | Crickit
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CAC interviews Gautam Gambhir, a step closer to becoming India head coach

By, Mumbai
Jun 19, 2024 12:09 AM IST

Only Gambhir and WV Raman were shortlisted for interviews to take over as head coach from Rahul Dravid.

After thousands of applicants added plenty of nuisance value to the Indian cricket team head coach appointment process, only two genuine contenders – Gautam Gambhir and WV Raman — made it to the interview rounds on Tuesday.

Mumbai Indians player Rohit Sharma with Kolkata Knight Riders mentor Gautam Gambhir during a practice session (PTI)
Mumbai Indians player Rohit Sharma with Kolkata Knight Riders mentor Gautam Gambhir during a practice session (PTI)

And at the end of it, while Raman, former India women’s team head coach and former India cricketer’s presentation went well, it is almost certain that Gambhir will become India’s next head coach.

 

Gambhir joined virtually in the interview conducted at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters in Mumbai by the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising of former players Ashok Malhotra (joined virtually), Jatin Paranjpe and Sulakshana Naik.

Gambhir’s name first came into reckoning after current head coach Rahul Dravid and National Cricket Academy (NCA) director VVS Laxman expressed their inability to commit to the job that would require them to be on the road with the Indian team for the entire year except the IPL months.

The new head coach will be tasked to lead India through the annual ICC white-ball events cycle as well as the World Test Championship between July 2024 to November 2027. While Gambhir’s success of mentoring Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to the IPL 2024 trophy adds heft to his coaching credentials, the gritty left-hander does not have any real coaching experience outside of IPL.

Gambhir’s appointment would be different to Dravid, who came through the ranks as India U19 and A coach and graduated to international coaching. But recently retired cricketers taking to coaching – Gambhir retired in 2019 and last played for India in 2016 – has its positives as well.

The two-time World Cup winner, apart from his mentoring gigs in the IPL has also been an active commentator and is well versed with the changing demands of present-day cricket. Gambhir met BCCI secretary Jay Shah after the IPL final on May 26 and once he had agreed in principle, did not take up any media assignments for the ongoing World Cup.

While it wasn’t made official that he had applied for the job, on June 1, Gambhir confirmed his interest at an event in Abu Dhabi. "Look, I would love to coach the Indian team. There is no bigger honour than coaching your national team. You are representing 140 crore Indians. And more across the globe as well. And when you represent India, how can it get bigger than that?"

As a new coach, Gambhir is expected to bring in his own team of support staff. When Dravid took over from Ravi Shastri, only batting coach Vikram Rathore was retained. Paras Mhambrey replaced Bharat Arun as bowling coach and T Dilip replaced R Sridhar as fielding coach.

The key result area for the new coach would be to bring India some ICC silverware – their last T20 World Cup win was in 2007 and ODI Champions trophy in 2013.

"How can I help India win the World Cup? I think it's not me that will help India win the World Cup, it is 140 crore Indians that will help India win the World Cup," Gambhir had answered a question at the event. "If everyone starts praying for us, and we start playing and representing them, India will win the World Cup. The most important thing is to be fearless.”

SELECTOR ANKOLA TO BE REPLACED

The CAC will be conducting interviews for the job of the fifth selector in the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee on Wednesday. Salil Ankola is currently the second representative from West Zone in the committee and will be replaced by a former cricketer from the North Zone. Ajay Ratra, Mithun Manhas and Reetinder Singh Sodhi are among those in the running to get the job.

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