Why is it surprising that Gambhir has become the coach, what kind of committee is there that selected him?

Orhan Wadia
Orhan Wadia - Editor
9 Min Read
Why is it surprising that Gambhir has become the coach, what kind of committee is there that selected him?

Gautam Gambhir will have to shoulder a big responsibility as the coach of Team India: After nearly a month of speculation, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah on Tuesday announced as expected that Gautam Gambhir will be the new head coach of the Indian cricket team. Former Team India opener Gautam Gambhir will replace Rahul Dravid, who ended his tenure with winning the T20 World Cup played in the USA and West Indies. Gambhir, a BJP MP from 2019 to 24, retired from active politics ahead of the Lok Sabha elections this year. He later guided his former IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to the title win. It was a campaign that greatly increased his chances of replacing Dravid.

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Beginning of Gambhir era in Indian cricket
Gautam Gambhir was one such contender before the BCCI, who could become an alternative to Rahul Dravid. Another candidate interviewed by the BCCI's Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) was former Indian opener WV Raman. Gautam Gambhir's claim is understood to be stronger than WV Raman. Except for a short time during his tenure as an MP from 2019 to 2024, he has been continuously associated with cricket. Interestingly, Gambhir has never coached any team. Before joining Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as a mentor ahead of the 2024 season of the IPL, he held the position of mentor with Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) for two years (2022 and 2023) and on both occasions he led the new franchise to the third position.

Will Gambhir carry forward Dravid's tradition and become the coach?
The soft spoken Rahul Dravid has left a big mark as a coach. Obviously, his successor Gautam Gambhir will have a lot to prove on the field. Rahul Dravid is called Mr. Perfectionist of Indian cricket. When he was offered the post of head coach of the Indian cricket team, he politely declined it and told the BCCI that he would start with the junior team first. Rahul Dravid first took the responsibility of preparing players at the junior level. Then he brought them to Team India. Therefore, he was well aware of the weaknesses and strengths of his players.

Low Profile CAC
At present, the Cricket Advisory Committee includes former Team India player Ashok Malhotra along with Jatin Paranjape and Sulakshana Naik. Ashok, Jatin and Sulakshana have played cricket for India. However, the international career of these three has not been very long. Ashok Malhotra has played seven Test matches. Apart from this, he has also played 20 ODIs. Jatin has played four ODIs for the Indian cricket team. Former Indian women's cricket team player Sulakshana has played two Tests and 46 ODIs. She has also played 31 T20 internationals. This cannot be compared to the committee of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly, which selected Anil Kumble as coach in 2016 and Ravi Shastri in 2017.

Questions raised on Gambhir's coaching ability
As far as coaching qualifications are concerned, Gautam Gambhir only has his achievements as a mentor of two IPL franchises to show. But, what works in his favour is that as a national coach you don't have to groom a player from scratch. The coach's job is to motivate and guide the players apart from formulating strategies. Even Greg Chappell did not have experience of coaching a national team when he became India's coach in 2005.

Will aggression be harmful?
Gautam Gambhir has an aggressive nature. Therefore, some people fear that his aggression may ruin his career as an Indian coach. People wonder how he will deal with people like Virat Kohli, with whom he has had clashes on the field. Then how will be his rapport with captain Rohit Sharma, who has been his Indian teammate. But those who know him closely say that his image of an aggressive cricketer is limited to the playing field. They say that off the field, Gambhir is quite jovial and jokes with his teammates. People who have shared the dressing room with him in various teams like ONGC, Delhi, India Under-19 etc. in the last few years confirm that he has always been committed to the team.

Brilliant as player-captain
Gautam Gambhir, however, has been exceptional as a player and captain. 4,154 runs in 58 Tests, 5,238 runs in 147 ODIs and 932 runs in 37 T20Is. His contribution to India's two victories – the 2007 T20 World Cup (227 runs including 75 in the final) and the 2011 World Cup (393 runs including 97 in the final) – is invaluable. In the IPL, he has scored 4,217 runs in 154 matches with 36 half-centuries (492 fours and 59 sixes) at a strike rate of 123.88. So, he has the stats to support his stature as a capable left-handed opener – and as a successful captain. He led KKR to two titles in 2012 and 2014, besides helping the team qualify for the knockout rounds in 2011, 2016 and 2017. Under his leadership, KKR looked unbeatable at times. In 2014, Gambhir-led KKR won nine consecutive IPL matches and six matches in the now-defunct Champions League T20.

Provide support staff as per your preference
Now it is believed that Gautam Gambhir will bring with him the support staff of his choice. The BCCI has thanked Dravid's support staff, which includes Paras Mhambrey, Vikram Rathore and T Dilip, and wished them all the best for the future. Names like Abhishek Nair, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Vinay Kumar are in the news among those who have worked with Gautam Gambhir. It has also been learned that Vikram Rathore could be made the successor of VVS Laxman at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

There will be a new beginning in Sri Lanka
Gambhir will begin his new role during the overseas series, where the Indian team will take on Sri Lanka in a three-match ODI and T20I series starting July 27, 2024. If one puts aside his aggressive image, Gambhir has been a courageous cricketer – a warrior who never gave up on the field and never expected anything from anyone. He is passionate and fully committed to the team. He has a philosophy – the team comes first and a player cannot put himself before the interests of the team. Paying attention to detail, Gambhir is a well-organised and punctual person. Even when he used to play and change hotels after every match, his hotel room always looked clean. His luggage was always inside the suitcase. Gambhir is known for maintaining relationships in cricket. But now is the time to test Gambhir

tag: BCCI Cricket, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Team India, head coach of team india

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