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Andy Flower not in race to become India coach, RCB’s coach confirms after IPL 2024 eliminator loss

Andy Flower not in race to become India coach, RCB’s coach confirms after IPL 2024 eliminator loss

Unlike previous appointments, where the BCCI had clear favourites (Kumble over Shastri in 2016, Shastri with Kohli's backing from 2017-2021, and Dravid in 2021), the current scenario lacks a clear frontrunner.

The search for India next head coach continues to be a complex puzzle for the BCCI, with another high-profile candidate bowing out of the race.

Andy Flower focuses on franchises

Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) coach Andy Flower has officially confirmed that he will not be applying for the Indian head coach position. Speaking after RCB’s IPL Eliminator loss vs Rajasthan Royals, Flower clarified in the post-match press conference, “I haven’t applied and I won’t apply. I am happy with my involvement with the franchise teams.”

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BCCI options remain open

Despite the application deadline approaching within a week, the BCCI is keeping its options open. Names like Gautam Gambhir (KKR), Stephen Fleming (CSK), Justin Langer (LSG), and Mahela Jayawardene (MI) have reportedly piqued their interest.

The board is currently in the process of gauging the interest of potential candidates. Gujarat Titans’ coach Ashish Nehra, initially considered, seems hesitant about a full-time commitment across formats.

Challenges in enticing Top Coaches

The BCCI faces a unique challenge – enticing strong candidates amidst stiff competition from the lucrative IPL franchises. The long travel commitments, requiring the coach to be with the team for almost 10 months until the 2027 World Cup, further complicate matters.

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Current Scenario: Mix of Factors

Presently, VVS Laxman, the current head of the National Cricket Academy (NCA), is the only name not associated with an IPL franchise. While he has shown some reluctance, the BCCI hasn’t ruled him out entirely.

Interestingly, sources suggest that Gambhir has emerged as the frontrunner. “There has been no formal communication yet, but Gambhir’s stocks seem to be rising,” revealed a BCCI source to TOI. The board is likely to reach out to him during the ongoing IPL playoffs in Ahmedabad.

Reports indicate a positive development in Gambhir’s relationship with senior players. “There have been no issues with Virat Kohli, and any past differences have been resolved,” a source clarified.

BCCI Needs Clarity: Time Running Out

Unlike previous appointments, where the board had clear favourites (Kumble over Shastri in 2016, Shastri with Kohli’s backing from 2017-2021, and Dravid in 2021), the current scenario lacks a clear frontrunner. With the application deadline nearing its end, the BCCI needs to initiate concrete discussions and reach a decision soon.

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