Indian cricket: Gautam Gambhir begins his role as new coach; his leadership will be under lens

It was no surprise to cricket followers when the BCCI Secretary, Jay Shah, announced that Gautam Gambhir had been appointed the new coach of the Indian cricket team. It was a foregone conclusion that Gambhir would get the job.

It leads us to wonder whether Gambhir had been approached by the BCCI for this post several months ago and perhaps that is why he decided to opt out of the political race before the general elections in May. He was a member of the Lok Sabha from 2019 to 2024 but decided to leave politics before the elections. At that time he said that he wanted to devote more time to cricket.

Gambhir’s first assignment will be a relatively easy one because there is a limited-overs series against Sri Lanka that is coming up. Gambhir’s task will be to maintain the momentum and confidence evident during the T20 World Cup. His primary objective will be to ensure that the Men in Blue continue to play hard and do not get into a relaxed mood after the World Cup triumph.

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Dravid had a quiet style

Gambhir’s predecessor Rahul Dravid achieved excellent results with a calm, unruffled style of functioning. Although some fans criticised Dravid on social media as a coach who lacked imagination and drive, the legendary batter from Bengaluru maintained his composure and poise throughout his tenure.
Under all circumstances, Dravid’s speech and deportment reminded us always that there were still some gentlemen around in the game. He delivered results by doing his job quietly while shunning the spotlight. His greatest achievement was the team’s victory in the T20 World Cup after a gap of 17 years. But throughout the campaign, Dravid never thrust himself in front. He allowed the media to focus entirely on the players and the team.

Gambhir’s approach is different

Under the new coach, the players may have to adjust to the ways of a more outspoken helmsman who does not shy away from controversy. Gambhir is very intense and drives himself and others hard. In some situations, he can get into a confrontation. In 2007 during a keenly fought match against Pakistan, he collided with Shahid Afridi and an exchange of heated words followed. Both were fined by the ICC.

In 2013, during an IPL match, he made remarks that did not go down well with Virat Kohli and there was a verbal spat. The tensions between Gambhir and Kohli resurfaced after a few years during an incident amid another IPL tournament.

When these incidents are contrasted with the calm nature of Rahul Dravid, it is obvious that Gambhir and Dravid are opposites. For the sake of Indian cricket, one hopes that the team members will get along well with their new coach.

Must keep an eye on the future

Gambhir will have to carry out his job with an eye on the future. During Gambhir’s tenure, it may so happen that some of the team’s most senior players, namely Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, may bring their cricket careers to an end. Even Ravindra Jadeja has announced that he will no longer play in the T20 format.

Therefore, the new coach’s work will involve working with the BCCI and its selectors to identify the most talented new players and groom them to fill the shoes of their illustrious seniors. The two things should be carried out seamlessly and smoothly. As the seniors bow out, the juniors must be ready, both physically and mentally, to take over the tasks and challenges.

Try out young blood

Players like Rinku Singh and Riyan Parag have already hit the headlines and others like Mayank Yadav and Mohsin Khan are eagerly awaiting a call to action. The merits and demerits of each player must be studied meticulously. Those who are found to be suitable must be prepared for bigger challenges and greater responsibilities. The new coach and his colleagues in the BCCI will need to carry out this task and do it well.

So as Gautam Gambhir takes up his role, a new chapter begins for Indian cricket. It is reported that Gambhir will bring in assistants and support staff of his choice. Names like Abhishek Nayyar, L. Balaji, and Vinay Kumar are being discussed.

Changing face of modern cricket

Modern-day cricket has evolved considerably over the last two decades and changes in rules continue to take place at frequent intervals. The way the game is played, the attitude of the players, and the growing importance of the T20 format will have considerable bearing on many of the decisions that Gambhir and his assistants will make now and in the future. There are demanding times ahead for Gambhir and it will be interesting to see how he deals with them.

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