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    Gautam Gambhir to Replace Rahul Dravid as India’s Head Coach
Gautam Gambhir to Replace Rahul Dravid as India’s Head Coach
Rohit Sharma with Gautam Gambhir. Source: indiatoday.in

Gautam Gambhir to Replace Rahul Dravid as India’s Head Coach

Gautam Gambhir has been announced as the new head coach of the Indian cricket team, succeeding Rahul Dravid, who ended his term after leading India to victory in the 2024 T20 World Cup. This announcement was made by BCCI secretary Jay Shah on X (formerly Twitter).

Gambhir's first task as head coach will be a white-ball series in Sri Lanka, consisting of three ODIs and three T20Is later this month.

On X, Gambhir expressed his honour in returning to serve India, albeit in a different capacity. He stated his enduring goal to make every Indian proud, stating that the Indian cricket team carries the dreams of 1.4 billion people, and he would do everything to fulfil these aspirations.

The BCCI's official press release confirmed Gambhir's appointment and announced the end of tenures for assistant coaches Vikram Rathour (batting), Paras Mhambrey (bowling), and T Dilip (fielding). The BCCI appreciated their contributions and wished them well for the future.

Jay Shah welcomed Gambhir as the new head coach, highlighting his extensive experience in modern cricket and his ability to adapt to its evolving landscape.

At 42, Gambhir inherits a team currently experiencing tremendous success. They reached the finals of the World Test Championship and the ODI World Cup last year, then secured the T20 World Cup title, and are on track to reach their third consecutive WTC final next year. However, the team is also transitioning from one of its most illustrious eras, with key players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Ravindra Jadeja retiring from T20I cricket, and other veterans like R Ashwin and Mohammed Shami potentially nearing the end of their careers in other formats.

The BCCI had earlier announced that the new head coach would be appointed from July for a term of three-and-a-half years, until December 2027, overseeing the team across all three formats.

Despite advertising the position and setting an application deadline for May 27, the BCCI held discussions with Gambhir during IPL 2024, where he mentored the Kolkata Knight Riders to a title win. Before joining KKR in November 2023, Gambhir was a mentor for the Lucknow Super Giants during IPL 2022 and 2023, guiding them to the playoffs in both seasons. These are his only coaching roles since retiring as a player. During his playing career, Gambhir was instrumental in India’s victories in the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 ODI World Cup, top-scoring in the finals of both tournaments. He also led KKR to IPL titles in 2012 and 2014.

After IPL 2024, Gambhir needed time to decide but expressed his desire to coach India during an event in Abu Dhabi on June 1. He mentioned that winning the World Cup would require the support of 140 crore Indians and stated the importance of playing fearlessly.

Gambhir became the leading candidate to replace Dravid after VVS Laxman, another former India teammate, declined interest in the position. Laxman, currently the director of cricket at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, is coaching India on an interim basis during their ongoing T20I series in Zimbabwe.

Dravid had succeeded Ravi Shastri as head coach following the T20 World Cup in November 2021, initially for a two-year term until the 2023 ODI World Cup. He extended his tenure until the end of the 2024 T20 World Cup and guided India to their first ICC trophy since 2013.

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