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Team India coach hunt: BCCI keeps options open with Gautam Gambhir topping the probables list | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: The job to find the new head coach for the senior men’s team seems to have become more challenging for the Indian cricket board (BCCI) than it was first thought to be.
TOI understands that the board has kept its options open even as the deadline for the applications is less than a week away.
Going by sources, Gautam Gambhir (coach of KKR), Stephen Fleming (coach of Chennai Super Kings), Justin Langer (coach of Lucknow Super Giants) and Mahela Jayawardene (global performance head of Mumbai Indians) have got BCCI interested.
Reports suggest that the board’s operations team has been trying to speak to potential candidates and check if they are interested in the job. It is learnt that Gujarat Titans’ coach Ashish Nehra – whose name had earlier cropped up – isn’t sure about doing a full-time job across formats.
It is not going to be a straightforward call. To entice strong candidates for the job has become difficult because of competition from IPL.
The commitment to travel with the team for 10 months a year till the next ODI World Cup in 2027 is a big issue. All the aforesaid names have lucrative jobs with IPL franchises.
The only one not committed to an IPL job is current NCA head VVS Laxman. While it is understood that Laxman has shown reluctance to take up the job, the board has not ruled him out yet. Interestingly, Laxman had refused the job after the 2023 ODI World Cup and subsequently Rahul Dravid was asked to continue at least till the T20 WC next month.
Sources told TOI that Gambhir is currently on top of BCCI’s wish list. “There has been no formal communication with the potential candidates. All these coaches are biding their time and weighing options. But it seems Gambhir’s stocks have risen. It is likely that the board officials will speak with Gambhir in Ahmedabad where he is with KKR for the IPL playoffs,” a BCCI source said on Tuesday.
It is learnt that Gambhir and senior players in the Indian team have been getting along quite well of late. “If people are talking about Gambhir’s friction with Virat Kohli, it can be confirmed that the two have always got along well off the field. Even after the bust-up during an IPL match last year, the two were made to sit down and sort out any issue if they indeed had one,” the source added.
After Anil Kumble was appointed head coach for a year over Ravi Shastri in 2016, the board never really had to choose between candidates.
Shastri was a unanimous choice between 2017-21 with then skipper Kohli’s backing. Dravid was elevated from NCA head in 2021 after the BCCI officials convinced him after a long discussion during the 2021 T20 World Cup in Dubai.
In the current scenario, BCCI seems to be unsure about its options. One can hope for some concrete discussions and development by the end of this week.

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