Gautam Gambhir's Vinay Kumar request turned down, Zaheer Khan on BCCI's radar to become India's bowling coach: Report | Crickit
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Gautam Gambhir's Vinay Kumar request turned down, Zaheer Khan on BCCI's radar to become India's bowling coach: Report

Jul 10, 2024 03:59 PM IST

Zaheer Khan has emerged as a frontrunner to assist Gautam Gambhir as India's next bowling coach.

Following India's win at the T20 World Cup, the end of Rahul Dravid's coaching tenure, and the retirements of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli from T20s, Indian cricket under Gautam Gambhir will be heading towards a new direction. Like every change in guard, Gambhir will be given his own support staff, taking over from the outgoing Vikram Rathour, Paras Mhambrey and T Dilip as batting, bowling and fielding coaches, respectively.

Gautam Gambhir (R) could be joined by Zaheer Khan in India's coaching setup(Getty-AFP)
Gautam Gambhir (R) could be joined by Zaheer Khan in India's coaching setup(Getty-AFP)

While Gambhir's appointment was finalised and made official on Tuesday, there's still no word on those who will assist him. Several names are doing the rounds, including that of Jonty Rhodes to become the fielding coach. However, if reports are to be believed, Gambhir has shown his faith in Abhishek Nayar, the KKR batting coach, to accompany him, along with former India fast bowler Vinay Kumar.

Having said that, a fresh report from ANI that emerged on Wednesday suggests that the board may not be inclined in the same direction as Gambhir in terms of deciding India's next bowling coach. In fact, the board is keen to have one of Gambhir's former India teammates – a World Cup-winning teammate – in the form of Zaheer Khan. India's third-highest wicket-taker by a pacer in ODIs, Zaheer, is on the BCCI's radar and may pip everyone else in the race to grab the honour. Giving Zaheer competition is another candidate whom Gambhir knows very well.

Also Read: Gautam Gambhir, the big match player, ushers Indian cricket into next era

"BCCI discussing the names of Zaheer Khan and Lakshmipathy Balaji for the position of bowling coach. BCCI is not interested in the name of Vinay Kumar," sources told ANI.

Zaheer, one of India's most decorated fast bowlers of all time with 610 international wickets, is a 2011 World Cup winner, finishing as its leading wicket-taker. Having announced his retirement in 2014, Zaheer was part of the Mumbai Indians coaching set-up before taking up broadcasting duties with a leading website. Balaji, meanwhile, with 71 wickets, may not have enjoyed the best of careers as an Indian fast bowler, but his coaching resume is rich in experience. After his retirement in 2016, Balaji took upon coaching and served as the bowling coach for Kolkata Knight Riders in 2017 and later with Chennai Super Kings for five seasons.

Zaheer Khan endorsed earlier

This is not the first time that Zaheer's name has been brought up to replace Mhambrey as India's next bowling coach. Former Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akram had earlier stated that while Gambhir is the best man after Dravid to coach India, guys like Zaheer or Ashish Nehra for the post of bowling coach.

Also Read: Gautam Gambhir leaves special message for Rahul Dravid after replacing legend as India head coach

"Gambhir was with Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and they did really well under him. He became a mentor of KKR and they became champions. He is an amazing planner and has a brilliant cricketing mind. I have played a lot of cricket with him. We have been together for a long time. We played, had food and had chats together. We are still good friends. We are still in touch. He should be the head coach and India can go for Ashish Nehra or Zaheer Khan as bowling coach," Akmal had said.

Gambhir himself is pretty fond of Zaheer Khan. He has time and again gone on record to state that he holds Zaheer's 21 wickets in the 2011 World Cup higher in precedence to Sachin Tendulkar's 482 runs or Yuvraj Singh's all-round show of scoring 362 runs and picking 15 wickets.

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