Gambhir era begins in Indian cricket, BCCI says it expects tenacity from new coach

The 42-year-old will take over from Rahul Dravid who stepped down after India won the T20 World Cup.
Gautam Gambhir (File photo | PTI)
Gautam Gambhir (File photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: World Cup-winning former opener Gautam Gambhir was on Tuesday named head coach of the Indian cricket team by the BCCI, which hoped that he would bring "tenacity and leadership" to the position that was held with "remarkable success" by Rahul Dravid until recently.

The 42-year-old left-hander, who played a key role in India's 2011 ODI World Cup triumph, was the front-runner to replace Dravid whose tenure ended with the country's triumph in the T20 World Cup in Barbados last month.

Gambhir's first assignment as India coach will be the of tour Sri Lanka for three T20Is and as many ODIs starting July 27.

"The Board would like to thank former Head Coach, Mr Rahul Dravid for his brilliant run with the team. Team India now embarks on a journey under a new coach – Mr Gautam Gambhir," said BCCI President Roger Binny in an elaborate statement.

The Board stated that the Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Ashok Malhotra, Jatin Paranjpe and Sulakshana Naik on Tuesday unanimously recommended Gambhir.

"His appointment as Head Coach marks a new chapter for Indian cricket. His experience, dedication, and vision for the game make him the ideal candidate to guide our team forward. We are confident that under his leadership, Team India will continue to excel and make the nation proud," said Binny.

The sentiment was echoed by Board secretary Jay Shah.

"The baton now passes on to Mr Gautam Gambhir who will don the role of Head Coach from the forthcoming series in Sri Lanka," he said.

"Gambhir has been a fierce competitor and a brilliant strategist. We believe he will bring the same tenacity and leadership to his role as Head Coach. His transition to the role of Head Coach is a natural progression, and I believe he will bring out the best in our players," he said.

Shah said he expects Gambhir to inspire and lead the team to new heights.

"His vision for the future of Indian cricket aligns perfectly with our goals, and we are excited about the journey ahead," he added.

As a player, Gambhir led Kolkata Knight Riders to IPL titles in 2012 and 2014.

He then proved his coaching credentials as the mentor of the KKR team that won the IPL title in 2024.

"It is an absolute honour to serve my tricolour, my people, my country," said Gambhir in a BCCI statement.

"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Rahul Dravid and his team of support staff for their exemplary run with the team. I am honoured and excited to take on the role of Head Coach for Team India. I have always taken pride while donning the Indian jersey during my playing days and it is going to be no different when I take up this new role."

Gambhir said he looks forward to working closely with the BCCI, Head of Cricket VVS Laxman, the support staff, and, "most importantly, the players, as we work towards achieving success in the upcoming tournaments."

Earlier on Tuesday, Shah paid glowing tributes to outgoing head coach Dravid, saying India has emerged as a "dominant force" across formats under his tenure and he left the dressing room a "cohesive unit".

Under Dravid, India went on to win the T20 World Cup in the USA and the Caribbeans after 17 years, besides reaching the summit clash of the World Test Championships and the ODI World Cup final.

"I express my sincere thanks and gratitude to Mr Rahul Dravid whose highly successful tenure as the Head Coach draws to a close. Under his guidance, #TeamIndia emerged as a dominant force across formats, including being crowned ICC Men's T20 World Cup champions!," Shah wrote on 'X'.

"His strategic acumen, persistent efforts to nurture talent and exemplary leadership has instilled a culture of excellence within the team and that is also the legacy he leaves behind. The Indian dressing room today is one cohesive unit standing together through challenges while revelling in each other's success," he added.

Dravid, whose coaching tenure started in late 2021, stepped down at the end of India's title-winning T20 World Cup campaign last month.

India skipper Rohit Sharma also wrote an emotional thank you note to Dravid, expressing "gratitude" for his man-management skills and for leaving his baggage of stardom outside the dressing room.

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