• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Gautam Gambhir officially confirmed as India cricket team’s head coach

The 42-year-old takes over the baton from Rahul Dravid, whose stint ended with India’s victory in the T20 World Cup in the West Indies in June.

Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir takes over as the head coach of the Indian men’s senior cricket team (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Jay Shah, on Tuesday (9) formally announced that former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir has been named as the head coach of the national team. While reports were doing the rounds that the former opening batter was expected to take over the reins from Rahul Dravid, whose stint ended with India winning the T20 World Cup in the West Indies last month, and that the announcement was a mere formality, it was eventually done on Tuesday.

In a social media post, Shah said, “It is with immense pleasure that I welcome Gautam Gambhir as the new head coach of the Indian Cricket Team. Modern-day cricket has evolved rapidly, and Gautam has witnessed this changing landscape up close. Having endured the grind and excelled in various roles throughout his career, I am confident that Gautam is the ideal person to steer Indian cricket forward.”

“His clear vision for #TeamIndia, coupled with his vast experience, positions him perfectly to take on this exciting and most sought-after coaching role. The BCCI fully supports him as he embarks on this new journey,” he added.

Gambhir acknowledged Shah’s words and said he was “elated to be part” of the journey and that the entire team will strive together for “excellence and newer heights”.

In another post, the new coach said, “India is my identity and serving my country has been the greatest privilege of my life. I’m honoured to be back, albeit wearing a different hat. But my goal is the same as it has always been, to make every Indian proud. The men in blue shoulder the dreams of 1.4 billion Indians and I will do everything in my power to make these dreams come true!”

The Cricket Advisory Committee comprising former India cricketers such as Ashok Malhotra, Jatin Paranjpe and Sulakshana Naik unanimously recommended the 42-year-old as the head coach of the senior men’s cricket team the same day. Gambhir, who played for India between 2003 and 2016 and scored more than 10,000 runs across three formats (Tests, one-day internationals and T20 internationals) with 20 hundreds, will take charge from the upcoming series in Sri Lanka featuring three one-days and as many T20s starting July 27, the BCCI said in a post on X.

Gambhir was a member of two World Cup-winning squads — in the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa and 2011 one-day World Cup at home. He was India’s highest scorer in the finals of both tournaments.

Some of Gambhir’s major challenges will be India’s long tour of Australia later this year and the Champions Trophy to be played in Pakistan early next year, provided the Indian team travels to that country.

The chatter around Gambhir, also a former parliamentarian, taking up the role of the head coach grew louder in the latter half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) season this year. While no formal approach was made, things yet moved forward between the BCCI and Gambhir through informal talks, India Today reported citing a source. While Gambhir has no prior experience in coaching at the highest level, his role as a mentor in the IPL seems to have convinced the board that the former opener could be the apt successor to Dravid.

Kolkata Knight Riders won this year’s IPL crown under the mentorship of Gambhir, who had also led the same franchise to two IPL trophies in the past, and it made the former cricketer’s resume more appealing. His role in offering more clarity of purpose and turning the Knight Riders towards a common goal was highlighted by the players, staff members and even co-owner Shah Rukh Khan.

The Indian team, featuring mostly junior players, is currently playing a five-match away T20 series against Zimbabwe under the mentorship of VVS Laxman, another former India batter.

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