Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir, as head coach, guided Kolkata Knight Riders to their third IPL title this year. Now he assumes a bigger role for Team India. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Former opener Gautam Gambhir has been appointed the head coach of the Indian team. The former left-hander, who was widely tipped for the role to replace Rahul Dravid, will begin his stint with the One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka, to be held later this month.

The Indian board secretary Jay Shah, on his X handle on Tuesday, posted: “It is with immense pleasure that I welcome Mr @GautamGambhir as the new Head Coach of the Indian Cricket 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. His clear vision for #TeamIndia, coupled with his vast experience, positions him perfectly to take on this exciting and most sought-after coaching role. The @BCCI fully supports him as he embarks on this new journey.”

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The BCCI had earlier said the new head coach would be appointed from July for a term of three and a half years until December 2027 and would be in charge of the team across all three formats.

“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 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. Cricket has been my passion and I look 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,” Gambhir said in a statement from the Indian board.

No bigger honour

While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had advertised for candidates for the role and set a deadline for applications as May 27, the board had held discussions with Gambhir during IPL 2024, where he was Kolkata Knight Riders’ mentor during their run to the title. The Indian team, currently playing in a Twenty20 series against Zimbabwe, will tour Sri Lanka where they will play three ODIs and as many Twenty20 internationals from July 27-August 7.

“I would love to coach the Indian team,” Gambhir had said during an event in Abu Dhabi. “There is no bigger honour. There is no bigger honour than coaching your national team. You are representing 140 crore Indians. And more across the globe as well. And when you represent India, how can it get bigger than that?"

Gambhir Rohit
Kolkata Knight Rider's Gautam Gambhir, who greets Rohit Sharma, has played with and against some the current Indian team members, which will help him to assess and gel with them. Image Credit: AFP file

However, there was never a doubt that Gambhir will be the top pick for the job. The 42-year-old Gambhir, who was part of the World Cup winning team under Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2011, underlined his coaching credentials after guiding the Knight Riders to their third title, ending a 10-year drought. It was under Gambhir’s leadership that the Purple outfit last won the IPL trophy, incidentally with Raman as the batting coach.

Thanking Dravid for his services

Gambhir will have a huge task of rebuilding the Indian team, especially in the Twenty20 format, after the retirement of stars like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja from the shortest format.

Shah also took the opportunity to thank Dravid for his services. “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! 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 his leaves behind. The Indian dressing room today is one cohesive unit standing together through challenges while revelling in each other’s success,” he posted on X.