BCCI to ignore deadline, Gautam Gambhir silent on India head coach role, no notable foreign names apply: Report

The BCCI is in no hurry to release or talk about the list of applicants for the Team India head coach position. The May 27 (Monday) deadline (for applicants) is not giving the Indian cricket board sleepless nights. They are ready to wait for the time to find a suitable candidate. Rahul Dravid's contract expires after the T20 World Cup. He has no intention of continuing in the position, leading to speculation about his successor.

Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla (right) with her family members poses next to Jay Shah (left), BCCI and KKR mentor Gautam Gambhir (centre) at the end of IPL 2024 (AFP)

However, the BCCI is not concerned with the media reports and social media discussions. They may even wait till the T20 World Cup is over, as the immediate task is the series against Zimbabwe, where all the senior players will be rested anyway. The team may be trained by the NCA staff headed by VVS Laxman.

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“The deadline is fine but the BCCI top brass won't mind taking some more time before taking a decision. Right now the team will be busy with the World T20 in June. The senior players will then be rested for the Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe tours where any of the senior coaches based in the NCA can accompany the team. So what's the hurry?” a BCCI source told PTI on condition of anonymity.

PTI reported that Laxman was BCCI's first choice to replace Dravid for a long time but the former Indian batsman was not ready to join the senior team.

Several foreign names like Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting, LSG head coach Justin Langer, CSK head coach Stephen Fleming and Mumbai Indians director of cricket Mahela Jayawardene were considered but none of them applied. “It is understood that no notable foreign name has applied for the position, especially after BCCI secretary Jay Shah made it clear that the board is looking at someone who has risen through the ranks and knows the domestic structure,” the report said.

It is believed that constant travelling for 10 months in a year is the biggest hurdle behind the lukewarm response from the big names. It was different in the pre-IPL era when well-known former cricketers wanted to be associated with Indian cricket. But now, they are very happy with their roles with the respective franchises in the IPL.

Gautam Gambhir is the front runner but…

The only name still in the game is Gautam Gambhir. The former Indian opener's popularity surged after Kolkata Knight Riders won the IPL this season under his guidance. However, it is still unclear whether the KKR mentor has officially applied for the role.

“While both the interested parties are yet to say anything, it seems like the BCCI does not have too many quality options available at the moment,” the report said.

Moreover, KKR's principal owner Shah Rukh Khan shares a deep bond with Gambhir and it is not easy to leave an IPL team that has been a part of the former Indian opener's identity.

Another aspect that needs to be seriously examined is what the senior Indian players, currently in New York, think about Gambhir's possible replacement in Rahul Dravid's place.

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