Gautam Gambhir

Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has emerged as the only candidate to apply for the high-profile role of India’s new head coach. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) invited applications last month after the current head coach, Rahul Dravid, expressed his reluctance to continue beyond the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup 2024 in the West Indies and USA.

With the deadline having passed on May 27, the former stands as the lone applicant for one of the most coveted jobs in world cricket.

The vacancy for the India head coach position arose when Dravid, who took over the role in 2021, decided not to seek an extension due to the exhausting travel schedule. Dravid’s tenure has been marked by several memorable moments, guiding the team to the finals of the World Test Championship and ODI World Cup in 2023.

Under Gambhir’s mentorship, KKR lifted their third IPL title

Gambhir’s appointment for the head coach role comes on the back of his successful stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024.

Under his mentorship, KKR secured their third IPL title, ending a decade-long drought. The 42-year-old’s ability to encourage a positive team environment and his tactical awareness have been widely praised, making him a strong contender for the national team role.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), comprising Ashok Malhotra, Jatin Paranjape, and Sulakshana Naik, will interview Gambhir via a Zoom call on Tuesday, June 18. Their recommendations will be subsequently presented to the BCCI, who will make the official announcement.

The scarcity of applicants for the India head coach position is a reminder of the challenges associated with the role, which demands extensive travel and an exhausting schedule. Many high-profile coaches and former players have preferred the shorter stints with franchise leagues, which offer lucrative remuneration and a better work-life balance.