Gambhir interviews for India head coach position

India
Gautam Gambhir, the frontrunner to replace Rahul Dravid as India men’s head coach, has formally applied for the position and attended an interview on Tuesday, ESPNcricinfo has learned. Gambhir interacted with the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), which is the panel entrusted by the BCCI to shortlist applicants.

The BCCI, which had set May 27 as the deadline for applications for the post, had held informal discussions with Gambhir during IPL 2024, when he helped lead Kolkata Knight Riders to their third title after returning to the franchise as mentor in November 2023.

The KKR job was Gambhir’s second stint in a coaching role; he had been a mentor at Lucknow Super Giants during the 2022 and 2023 IPL seasons, helping the team qualify for the playoffs both times.

Gambhir had sought time to take a final call during the IPL, but speaking at an event in Abu Dhabi on June 1, he expressed his desire to coach India. “Look, I would love to coach the Indian team,” Gambhir said. “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?”

He had been answering a question on whether he saw himself helping India win a World Cup.

“How can I help India win the World Cup – I think it’s not me that will help India win the World Cup, it is 140 crore Indians that will help India win the World Cup,” Gambhir said. “If everyone starts praying for us, and we start playing and representing them, India will win the World Cup. The most important thing is to be fearless and yes, I would love to coach India.”

Gambhir became the frontrunner for the job once his former India team-mate VVS Laxman told the BCCI last year that he was not interested in the head coach job. Laxman is currently the director of cricket at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.

Dravid had taken over from Ravi Shastri after the T20 World Cup in November 2021, initially signing on for two years until the 2023 ODI World Cup. He then accepted the BCCI’s request to extend his tenure until the ongoing T20 World Cup.

The BCCI had said the new head coach would be appointed for for three-and-a-half years, from July 2024 to December 2027, and would helm the team in all three formats.

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