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India’s coach Rahul Dravid during a practice session in Ahmedabad on November 17. Dravid had replaced Ravi Shastri as the coach in 2021 for a two-year term. Image Credit: AFP

New Delhi: Rahul Dravid will stay on as India head coach following an extension of his contract, which had expired with the 50-overs home World Cup earlier this month, the country’s cricket board said on Wednesday. The support staff also was given an extension in the contract.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) did not reveal the duration of the extension but it is likely to cover the T20 World Cup in West Indies and the United States in June.

“The BCCI engaged in productive discussions with Rahul Dravid after the term of his contract ended ... and unanimously agreed to further the tenure,” the board said in a statement.

The BCCI acknowledged Dravid’s “exceptional professionalism” as coach of the side which reached the finals of the World Test Championship and the ODI World Cup this year losing to Australia on both occasions.

Praise for VVS Laxman

The board also praised former Test batter VVS Laxman, who was expected to succeed Dravid in the role having occasionally filled in for his former India teammate, saying he had shown “exemplary” service.

BCCI secretary Jay Shah said Dravid had made India a “formidable” force.

“Team India is now a formidable unit across formats, and our top ranking in all three formats directly reflects his vision, guidance, and the roadmap he charted for the team,” he added.

“Having won 10 consecutive games before the final, our World Cup campaign was nothing short of extraordinary, and the head coach deserves appreciation for setting up the right platform for the team to flourish.” Dravid said he thoroughly enjoyed the last two years in charge of the side.

Memorable journey

“The last two years with Team India have been thoroughly memorable. Together, we have witnessed the highs and lows, and throughout this journey, the support and camaraderie within the group have been phenomenal. I am genuinely proud of the culture we have set in the dressing room,” the 50-year-old said.

“It’s a culture that stands resilient, whether in moments of triumph or adversity. The skills and talent that our team possesses are phenomenal, and what we’ve stressed is following the right process and sticking to our preparations, which has had a direct impact on the overall result.”

“I thank the BCCI and the Office Bearers for placing their trust in me, endorsing my vision, and providing support during this period. The demands of this role necessitate considerable time away from home, and I deeply appreciate my family’s sacrifices and support. Their instrumental role behind the scenes has been invaluable. As we embrace new challenges post the World Cup, we remain committed to the pursuit of excellence,” Dravid said.

Dravid took charge in 2021

Dravid had replaced Ravi Shastri as the India senior men’s head coach after the T20 World Cup in 2021 for a two-year term, along with support staff comprising Vikram Rathour (batting coach after 2019 ODI World Cup), Paras Mhambrey (bowling coach), and T Dilip (fielding coach).

Laxman is currently guiding a second-string India squad in a five-match T20 series against Australia. Dravid is likely to reclaim the coaching reins for India’s tour of South Africa next month, comprising three T20Is and ODIs each, along with two Tests from December 10 to January 7.

The team will be back in India to play three T20Is against Afghanistan in January, followed by five Tests against England till March, before regrouping for the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies and USA.