Gautam Gambhir, Mahela Jayawardene in running for India head coach's job | Crickit
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Gautam Gambhir, Mahela Jayawardene in running for India head coach's job

May 19, 2024 07:00 AM IST

The deadline to send applications to BCCI is May 27, with Rahul Dravid unlikely to reapply

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir, who was part of the 2007 World T20 and 2011 ODI World Cup-winning teams, and former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene are among the leading names that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is in talks with to take over from Rahul Dravid as India’s next head coach.

Gautam Gambhir returned to KKR as a mentor this season.(PTI)
Gautam Gambhir returned to KKR as a mentor this season.(PTI)

Most candidates on BCCI’s wish list are those currently doing coaching duties in the Indian Premier League (IPL) according to a source close to developments. Gambhir is team mentor of Kolkata Knight Riders while Jayawardene is head of cricket at Mumbai Indians and oversees the franchise's teams at various leagues around the world.

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There have also been conversations with Justin Langer, head coach of Lucknow Super Giants, but he does not want to return to the hustle of international coaching so soon after working with the Australian team. The BCCI has also had talks with Stephen Fleming, head coach of Chennai Super Kings, but he too is unlikely to commit to a full-time international coaching role.

Gambhir, 42, is well-versed with the modern-day game, having retired only five years ago. Although he doesn’t have international coaching experience, the former opener is attributed to have played a key role in KKR’s run to the playoffs in the ongoing IPL. In 2022 and 2023, Gambhir was mentor with LSG and guided the team to the playoffs.

Gambhir and BCCI would have to be in agreement over remuneration given his current earnings. Rahul Dravid’s annual pay is known to be a little upward of 10 crore. Gambhir, a former KKR captain who led them to two IPL titles, is paid handsomely for his coaching gig in the IPL. Coupled with Gambhir’s earnings as a broadcaster, the BCCI may have to raise the pay by 50 percent although it wouldn’t be a stumbling block if he commits to the role as described by the BCCI advertisement that went up on Monday.

The BCCI is looking for a coach who is willing to commit to the all–format ICC events' cycle for the next three years — 2025 ODI Champions Trophy, 2026 T20 World Cup, 2027 ODI World Cup as well as the two World Test Championship cycles concluding with the final in 2025 and 2027.

Jayawardene, 46, and Rohit Sharma have worked together before as coach-captain for MI. Jayawardene has also served as consulting coach with the Sri Lankan team in ICC events.

BCCI’s hunt for the head coach has been an ongoing exercise over the last six months following the end of India’s ODI World Cup campaign last November. Once it could not find anyone willing to step up for a long-term role, Dravid was persuaded to continue until the T20 World Cup to be played in June in the United States and Caribbean.

National Cricket Academy (NCA) director VVS Laxman has been filling in for Dravid from time to time when international schedules have been tight. But he is unwilling to take up the job given he would have to be on the road for ten months in a year.

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