Gambhir frontrunner for Team India head coach role: report

Gautam Gambhir
Gambhir is currently serving as the mentor of KKR in IPL 2024. File photo: IANS/Bibhash Lodh

New Delhi: Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has reportedly been approached by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to become the next head coach of the senior men’s team. Earlier this week, the BCCI officially invited applications for the post with May 27 set as the deadline.

As per the job description, the new India coach would be for all three formats from July, 2024, till December, 2027. Current coach Rahul Dravid’s original contract began after 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup in November and had come to an end with the 2023 ODI World Cup at home. It was extended till this year’s next month's T20 World Cup.

A report in ESPNCricinfo on Friday says Gambhir, mentor of two-time IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders, is on top of the BCCI's wishlist to take up the position after Dravid's term gets over at the end of the the T20 World Cup to be held in the West Indies and the USA from June 1-29.

The report further said Gambhir has been contacted by the BCCI to seek his interest in the top job, and further discussions are expected after KKR complete their IPL 2024 campaign. “However, the deadline for applying for the India head coach job is May 27, a day after the IPL final. Dravid, it is learnt, has communicated to the BCCI his decision not to seek another tenure,” it added.

Gambhir, 42, has no previous experience of being the head coach at international or domestic level, but has been in a mentorship role in the IPL. He was the mentor of the Lucknow Super Giants franchise in IPL 2022 and 2023, where they qualified for the playoffs in both seasons.

Ahead of the IPL 2024 season, Gambhir moved to KKR in the same mentorship capacity, where the Shreyas Iyer-led side is assured of top spot and will play Qualifier 1 in Ahmedabad next Tuesday.

Gambhir was a member of India's triumphant T20 World Cup squad in 2007. The left-hander was also part of the victorious 2011 World Cup team. He also captained KKR to IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, as well as runners-up finish in the now-defunct Champions League T20 in 2014.

Gambhir, along with Stephen Fleming, Ashish Nehra, Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer are among the big names in fray for the Team India post.

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