Five possible candidates to replace Rahul Dravid as India cricket coach

Next national team coach expected to receive three-year contract to manage all formats

India captain Rohit Sharma with coach Rahul Dravid, who is expected to vacate his position after the T20 World Cup in June. Getty Images
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Indian cricket has started its search for the next national team coach with Rahul Dravid’s tenure coming to an end following the T20 World Cup in June.

Dravid was handed a short-term extension when his two-year contract expired after India's defeat to Australia in the ODI World Cup final last November. The former India captain is said to not be interested in re-applying for the position.

That loss extended India’s trophy drought to over a decade, with their last major success being the 2013 Champions Trophy.

Now, the Indian cricket board wants to hire a coach for a longer duration – until the end of 2027. However, the pool of likely candidates is small as the coach will be expected to manage all three formats, which would mean being on the road for most of the year with some breaks in between.

Here we take a look at five potential candidates to replace Dravid as India coach.

VVS Laxman

The most obvious choice, on paper, is the former India middle order batsman who currently heads the National Cricket Academy. Laxman has also dabbled with coaching the national team in the absence of Dravid.

However, according to reports, it could be difficult to get Laxman on board as he is apparently not too keen to take up the job that is set to last three years and involve all formats. The players are fairly familiar with his style, though, so would be a safe choice who simply keeps the ball rolling.

Stephen Fleming

The Chennai Super Kings coach has emerged as a prominent name in the race to be the next coach. Fleming’s record as a cricketer and coach is exemplary and the New Zealander knows Indian cricket inside out, having successfully guided Chennai Super Kings to multiple titles.

His calm demeanour, proven man-management skills and top-tier technical knowledge have earned many admirers in the Indian cricket establishment. However, he has coaching gigs in other franchise tournaments throughout the year and it is not clear whether he would be keen to give up the relative comforts of franchise coaching and put all his time and attention to one highly demanding job.

Gautam Gambhir

The most eye-catching candidate in the race is the former India opener, who has made a name for himself by speaking freely and not worrying about upsetting any star names in the national team.

His coaching philosophy seems to have worked well at Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL this year, and he is seen as someone who can crack the whip when needed and make tough decisions.

The Delhi veteran is a hard task master and chances are he could demand greater control of the side, which is not the way Indian cricket teams have been managed of late.

Ricky Ponting

One of the most respected names in cricket, Ponting is a master tactician and has the bird’s eye view of the changing landscape of cricket. He has been associated with Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, but with varying results. However, he has a keen understanding of Indian cricket and will command the complete respect of the dressing room, if appointed as coach.

That said, he has a lucrative commentary career and it will be difficult to pry Ponting away from the comfortable work cycle he has now.

Justin Langer

The former Australia coach is currently in charge of the Lucknow Super Giants and is said to be “fascinated” by the prospect of coaching the Indian team.

However, Langer had a much publicised breakdown in relations with Australian players when he was the coach of the team, despite helping win the 2021 T20 World Cup. Langer has a respectable record as a coach, winning three Big Bash titles with Perth Scorchers along with Ashes success with the national team. However, he does not have as extensive an understanding of the Indian cricket system as others.

Updated: May 16, 2024, 10:00 AM