AFP9 July 2024 | 16:18

India's cricket board names Gautam Gambhir as head coach

The 42-year-old Gambhir takes over from batting great Dravid, who finished his stint with the T20 World Cup title in Barbados last month.

India's cricket board names Gautam Gambhir as head coach

FILE: Gautam Gambhir, former Indian cricket player and front-runner for team India's head coach, gestures during an event in Kolkata on 22 June 2024. Picture: DIBYANGSHU SARKAR / AFP

NEW DELHI - India's cricket board named Gautam Gambhir as head coach on Tuesday, with the former opener taking over from Rahul Dravid, tasked with building on their recent World Cup triumph.

Gambhir said it was "an absolute honour" to take India's top cricketing job.

"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 in a statement.

The 42-year-old Gambhir takes over from batting great Dravid, who finished his stint with the T20 World Cup title in Barbados last month.

Jay Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) called Gambhir a "fierce competitor and a brilliant strategist", and said he had been "unanimously" chosen to be the head coach.

Gambhir scored over 10,000 international runs during his 13-year-long international career for India since his ODI debut in 2003.

"We believe he will bring the same tenacity and leadership to his role as head coach," Shah said, adding Gambhir "will bring out the best in our players".

He is the only Indian - and one of four international cricketers including Don Bradman, Jacques Kallis and Mohammad Yousuf - to have scored centuries in five successive Test matches.

"Modern-day cricket has evolved rapidly, and Gautam has witnessed this changing landscape up close," Shah added.


Gambhir, a talented left-handed batsman who played a key part in India's ODI World Cup win in 2011, recently coached Kolkata Knight Riders to an IPL crown.

"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," Shah said.

"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."

After he retired from playing, the usually serious Gambhir took to commentary and then dabbled in politics, becoming a lawmaker for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He quit politics in March to join IPL's Kolkata, a team he led to two titles in 2012 and 2014.

Gambhir now takes over a team with heightened expectations after their T20 triumph, their fourth World Cup title and first major crown since the 2013 Champions Trophy.

BCCI president Roger Binny said Gambhir's appointment marks a "new chapter for Indian cricket", praising his "experience, dedication, and vision for the game".

India's white-ball tour of Sri Lanka in late July will be Gambhir's first assignment as coach of the national team.

India also awaits a T20 captain after Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli retired from the shortest format soon after a thrilling win over South Africa in the World Cup final in Barbados on 29 June.

Shah also offered his "sincere thanks and gratitude" to Dravid, ending his coaching career on a high.

"Under his guidance, Team India emerged as a dominant force across formats, including being crowned ICC Men's T20 World Cup champions," Shah said.

"His strategic acumen, persistent efforts to nurture talent and exemplary leadership have instilled a culture of excellence within the team and that is also the legacy he leaves behind."