‘Coaching India is different…’: Kumble passes verdict on Gautam Gambhir as head coach, gives stern message to BCCI

By admin Jun14,2024

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir is widely touted to become the next Indian head coach. The BCCI invited applications for the head coach role during the Indian Premier League season last month, and many reports have stated that Gambhir is among the leading men for the job. While the former India star doesn’t have a formal experience of coaching an international side, he did play a key role in Kolkata Knight Riders’ title win last month, playing the role of the side’s mentor.

Gautam Gambhir during IPL 2024 with Kolkata Knight Riders(PTI)

Furthermore, Gambhir was also the mentor for Lucknow Super Giants during the 2022 and 2023 seasons of the tournament, where the side reached playoffs. He has also been a successful captain in the league, leading the Knight Riders to two titles in 2012 and 2014.

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As Rahul Dravid’s tenure comes to an end following the T20 World Cup, former Indian captain Anil Kumble – who had also been the side’s head coach between 2016-17 – stated that Gambhir’s appointment might have a positive influence on the Indian team. Kumble argued that Indian dressing room needs an individual with a “strong demeanour” and Gambhir suits.

“You need somebody with a strong demeanour, and you want continuity,” Kumble told ESPNCricinfo.

“Rahul (Dravid) has done a fantastic job, and hopefully, for him and India’s sake, he has a swansong with the World Cup. What you also have to keep in mind is that some of the senior players are coming towards the backend of their careers. You need players who go through the transition period and ensure India doesn’t miss out the quality in the bowling and batting department. You pick and choose and transition through.”

Kumble added that Gambhir has the credentials to become the Indian head coach but acknowledged that despite his success with KKR, the BCCI will have to give Gambhir time.

“You have to give it time. He certainly is capable. We have seen Gautam handle teams. He has been a captain for India, for his franchise, for Delhi. He has all the credentials to be that. But Indian team’s coaching is slightly different, you have to give him time to settle in. Like I mentioned, in case he takes up the job, he will have the task of looking at not just the current lot, but also the future of Indian cricket,” said Kumble.

Familiarity doesn’t matter

Gambhir has played with a number of cricketers who are still part of the current Indian setup; Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Ravichandran Ashwin, to name a few. For Kumble, however, the familiarity doesn’t matter as long as the candidate is suitable.

“Today, you have been a part of the system in some form or the other. Whether you’re a coach or player, you’ve played with them or been associated with them on some form or the other. It doesn’t matter that much. What you look at is the candidature and not whether this particular coach has a background of playing with the players,” said Kumble.

“I think it’s important to choose the right candidate in terms of what they can bring to the Indian team, and someone who has the stature and the credibility to handle the certain situations in the game. Someone who is not afraid to take those calls.”

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