Team India set for Gambhir makeover? Gautam appointed new head coach

After a month of speculation, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) on Tuesday finally announced, as expected, Gautam Gambhir as the new head coach of Team India across formats.
Known to be a headstrong and outspoken character right from his playing days, the gutsy Gambhir takes over the coaching reins from the more reticent Rahul Dravid, who ended his tenure with the T20 World Cup win last month.
Gambhir, a former BJP MP from 2019 to ’24, opted out of active politics before the Lok Sabha elections this year. He subsequently mentored his former IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders all the way to the title, a campaign which significantly boosted his chances of replacing Dravid. In the preceding two years, Gambhir had mentored Lucknow Super Giants into the IPL playoffs.


Gambhir era begins in Indian cricket
Known as a driven, no-nonsense character, the former India opener is perceived as the ideal choice as coach by BCCI
Former India opener WV Raman was the only other candidate interviewed by the BCCI’s cricket advisory committee (CAC). It is understood that Gambhir will bring with him a support staff of his choice. BCCI has thanked Dravid’s support staff, consisting of Paras Mhambrey, Vikram Rathour and T Dilip and wished them luck going forward.
Names like Abhishek Nayar, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Vinay Kumar are doing the rounds and BCCI will invite applications soon. It is also learnt that Rathour is seen as a potential candidate to succeed VVS Laxman at the National Cricket Academy.
“It is with immense pleasure that I welcome GautamGambhir as the new head coach of the Indian team. Modern-day cricket has evolved rapidly and Gautam has witnessed this changing landscape up close. Having endured the grind and excelled in various roles throughout his career, I am confident that Gautam is the ideal person to steer Indian cricket forward,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah posted on X.
“His clear vision for Team India, coupled with his vast experience, positions him perfectly to take on this exciting and most sought-after coaching role. BCCI fully supports him as he embarks on this new journey,” Shah added.

Gambhir, India’s top scorer in both the 2007 T20 World Cup final and 2011 ODI World Cup final, said, “It is an absolute honour to serve my tricolour, my people, my country. 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.
“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. Cricket has been my passion and I look forward to working closely with the BCCI, head of cricket Mr VVS Laxman, the support staff, and, most importantly, the players, as we work towards achieving success in the upcoming tournaments,” he added.

Known for his serious demeanour during matches, Gambhir recently addressed the issue by saying, “I am not here to entertain. I am here to win matches. That’s my job as a professional.”
Gambhir’s leadership skills came to the fore in 2012 when he led KKR to their maiden IPL title before repeating the feat in 2014. It was during this phase that he also assumed full-time captaincy of the Delhi state team after being dropped from the Indian setup.
Gambhir’s outlook was simple. He did not bemoan the axe from India selectors. He wanted to win titles, both with KKR and Delhi. One of the major decisions he took was to play Delhi’s home Ranji Trophy matches on lush green tracks at Roshanara Club instead of the Ferozeshah Kotla. He didn’t care if he didn’t score heavily. He wanted result-oriented games which could help Delhi move ahead in the competition which looked improbable on slow pitches at Kotla then. He isn’t someone who is afraid of going against the grain.
While the cricket world celebrates Suryakumar Yadav’s T20 prowess, it was Gambhir who backed Surya’s promise at KKR when he was going through uncertain times in the Mumbai cricket setup in 2013-2014.
“One needs to remember the pitch at our home ground Eden Gardens was very slow and challenging. It was more so for those who batted in the lower middle order. Suryakumar consistently played those crucial knocks to take us over the line and that’s why he caught the eye of people. You give players like him more responsibility. He was groomed as leader and he was announced as vice-captain of KKR for some matches in the following seasons,” Vijay Dahiya, who has been Gambhir’s trusted aid at KKR, LSG and Delhi as a support staff, told TOI.


It was in the winter of 2013 that Gambhir shook the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when he handed Navdeep Saini a first-class debut. Saini hadn’t played any formal cricket in Delhi and it sparked protests. Gambhir took a firm stand and went against voices like Bishan Singh Bedi and Chetan Chauhan. A season later, he took on DDCA again to – dropping Delhi stalwarts Mithun Manhas and Rajat Bhatia because he wanted to play youngsters like Nitish Rana.
When Gambhir first spoke to the owners at LSG, he clearly spelt out that he didn’t want to build a team just for a couple of years. “He had said it was important to pick players who will serve the franchise for over a longer period of time,” sources close to Gambhir told TOI.
People close to Gambhir would tell you that he felt let down when KKR decided to let him go. He believed he was coming into his own as a leader at the time and wanted to leave behind a team which could serve KKR for another five years.
For Gambhir, an Ayush Badoni will be as valuable as KL Rahul. He decided that every unheralded player will be judged through the same lens. He also backed his scouting team and decided to rope in pacers like Mayank Yadav and Mohsin Khan.


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