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Top candidates for Team India head coach

Top candidates for position of Team India's head coach. BCCI have invited applications for the position of Head Coach of the Senior Men’s Team.


Top candidates for Team India head coach position (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Top candidates for Team India head coach position (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

As Rahul Dravid’s tenure as India’s head coach nears its end in June 2024, attention turns to potential successors for this vital role, particularly in Test cricket. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is preparing to initiate a search for a new coach, and several prominent names have emerged as contenders.


On Monday, the BCCI invited applications for the position of Head Coach of the Senior Men’s Team. In a late Monday night media statement, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah stated that “Applications for the position should be submitted by 6 PM IST on May 27, 2024.”


Rahul Dravid’s term was extended after the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 held in India. But after the request from the board, Dravid decided to extend his stay until the conclusion of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024. Jay Shah recently made it clear in an interaction with select journalists that if Rahul Dravid wishes to continue as coach, he must reapply.


The applicant must have played 30 Tests and 50 ODIs, be a full member of a Test-playing nation for at least 2 years, and have served as Head Coach of an Associate member/IPL Team or equivalent International League/First-Class Teams/National A team for a minimum of 3 years to be eligible for selection.



VVS Laxman

One of the top candidates for this esteemed position is VVS Laxman. With extensive coaching experience at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and as the stand-in head coach during Dravid’s absences, Laxman brings a wealth of knowledge and familiarity with the Indian cricket system. His tenure as mentor for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL further enhances his coaching credentials, making him a front-runner for the head coach role.


VVS Laxman was appointed head coach for the three-match T20I series against Ireland, which marked Jasprit Bumrah’s return series after his injury in 2023. He was then appointed as India’s head coach for the five-match T20I series against Australia immediately after the ODI World Cup 2023. Both times, it was just a temporary adjustment. He also coached India’s U-19 team in the 2024 World Cup, where India lost in the final to Australia.


VVS Laxman’s deep involvement with Indian cricket, both as a player and a coach, positions him as a front-runner for the coaching role. His ability to mentor young talent and his strategic approach to the game make him a natural fit for the responsibilities outlined by the BCCI.



Anil Kumble

Another notable contender is Anil Kumble, a former Indian captain and coach who has already made a significant impact on Indian cricket. Anil Kumble was previously appointed as the head coach of the team on June 24, 2016, and in his first stint, he led the Indian team to four Test series wins against England, New Zealand, Australia, and Bangladesh. He also led India to the finals of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy in England.


Kumble’s first series as coach was against West Indies in July, where India played three Test matches, winning 2-0. India continued their success under Kumble with a 3-0 Test series win against New Zealand, followed by a 4-0 victory over England in a five-Test series in November-December. India’s fourth Test series win under Kumble came against Bangladesh. India also registered two one-day series wins under Kumble’s tenure, defeating New Zealand and England.


Anil Kumble’s track record as head coach aligns closely with the criteria set by the BCCI, given his successful tenure with Team India and his understanding of the intricacies of Test cricket. His leadership qualities and tactical acumen make him a strong contender to succeed Rahul Dravid in guiding India’s Test team.



Venkatesh Prasad

Venkatesh Prasad, known for his contributions as a bowler and coach, also emerges as a viable candidate. His coaching experience with the Indian team during the 2007 T20 World Cup, where India claimed victory, showcases his ability to nurture talent and achieve results on the international stage. Prasad’s successful stints with IPL franchises further underline his coaching prowess.


In his first assignment as a coach, India defeated England 1-0 in the Test series, marking India’s first Test series win in England since 1986. They also recorded Test series wins against New Zealand and an ODI series win against Australia. Prasad’s attention to the new-ball pair of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma was notable during his coaching days.


However, Team India’s disappointing performance in the 2009 T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy led to Prasad’s departure. He then made significant contributions in the Indian Premier League, coaching various teams including Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), and Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings).


Venkatesh Prasad’s experience as a bowling coach and his contributions to India’s past victories add weight to his candidacy. His understanding of player dynamics and match strategies could prove invaluable in shaping India’s Test team’s future.


While these candidates bring diverse strengths to the table, the BCCI’s criteria for the head coach role emphasize a blend of coaching experience, playing background, and strategic acumen. Eligible candidates must be below 60 years of age and have significant playing experience, along with a minimum of two years in a similar coaching role with a Test-playing nation.


Ultimately, the decision to appoint a new head coach for India’s Test team will depend on a thorough assessment of each candidate’s credentials, vision for the team, and ability to handle the pressures of international cricket. With Rahul Dravid’s impending departure, the BCCI faces the task of selecting a coach who can build on the team’s successes and lead them to further glory in Test cricket.


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