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With Rahul Dravid’s tenure ending, who could be Indian cricket team’s next coach?

With Rahul Dravid’s tenure ending, who could be Indian cricket team’s next coach?

Rahul Dravid took over as Team India coach in November 2021, and was responsible for taking the team to World Cup final 2023, and ICC Test Championship final.

One of the most stressful jobs in the entire world could be becoming the coach of Team India. That is one responsibility that could be highly-rewarding, and at the same time be equally stressful as well. But over the last three years, Rahul Dravid did a terrific job after taking over the reigns of the team from Ravi Shastri in November 2021. Now, Dravid’s tenure would come to an end in June, after the T20 World Cup, and the CAC would decide upon a new coach, after inviting fresh applications.

On Friday, BCCI secretary Jay Shah confirmed the same, and also went on to say that the board is also open to appointing a foreign coach as well. Meanwhile, he also hinted that India is unlikely to go with a ‘different coach for different format approach’.

“We cannot determine whether the new coach will be Indian or foreign. It will be up to the CAC, and we are a global body,” the BCCI official said. Having said that, the development raises a pertinent question, as to who could become Team India’s next coach after Rahul Dravid? While this is just speculative in nature, since the BCCI is yet to advertise for the opening, but it’s still worth the debate.

VVS Laxman as Team India Coach?

The head of the National Cricket Academy, VVS Laxman could emerge as the front-runner for the job. He has taken over the duties when Rahul Dravid wasn’t available, and done a decent job with his team. This first happened in an ODI series against Zimbabwe in 2022, where Team India won 3-0. Then he led the rookie Indian side to a gold medal at the Asian Games 2023. Then similar was the case in a T20I series vs Ireland, where Dravid was absent, Laxman took over. So he knows the job well, and can be really beneficial to the team.

Ashish Nehra Impressive as GT Coach

Ashish Nehra might not come across as the quintessential coach, but has done wonders with the Gujarat Titans, having won the title in 2022, and making finals in 2023. The camaraderie he shares with the players, his happy go lucky nature, and astute understanding of the game has been appreciated by many. In the first two year as coach with GT, he won 23 matches out of 33 played. This year hasn’t been great though, and the team has only won four matches, and virtually out of playoffs race.

In fact, if reports are to be believed, Nehra was offered the role of Team India’s T20I coach, but he declined the offer, in November 2023, after the World Cup. That was perhaps due to his contract with IPL franchise GT.

Ricky Ponting Could be in Contention

If one was to scan the foreign option, Ricky Ponting could be a potential candidate. Of course he has vast experience as a player, and now as a coach as well. He was the coach of Mumbai Indians from 2014-2016 and led them to a trophy in 2015. Post that, he had a couple of coaching stints with the Aussie side in 2017, and then in a tri-series later in the year as well. Then he has been coaching the Delhi Capitals side since 2018.

Once again, before Dravid took over Team India’s responsibility, the BCCI had allegedly approached him for the position. Of course he declined back then. “I had a couple of conversations with some people during the IPL about it (the India head coach’s position). The people that I spoke to were pretty hell-bent on finding a way to make it work,” Ponting told ‘The Grade Cricketer’ podcast. But he could he land the job this time around, if he applies.

Even Rahul Dravid Could Continue as Coach..

In his interview with Cricbuzz, Jay Shah clarified that even Dravid can re-apply for the post once his tenure gets over. “Rahul’s tenure is only up to June. So if he wants to apply, he is free to do so.” But having held the post for a such a long time, it is unlikely that Dravid will continue to be India’s coach.

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