Rahul Dravid to take over as Team India head coach

Rahul Dravid all set to take over as full-time coach of Indian cricket team

Dravid will be succeeding current coach Ravi Shastri

 India's batting stalwart Rahul Dravid. Credit: PTI Photo

Former India captain Rahul Dravid is the favourite to take over as the senior cricket team’s head coach following the T20 World Cup when incumbent Ravi Shastri’s contract ends.

Dravid, who was recently reappointed the head of the National Cricket Academy, appears to have given his consent after initial reluctance and will assume charge with the home series against New Zealand soon after the T20 WC in the UAE. 

The 48-year-old Bengalurean is expected to get a two-year contract with an annual salary package of Rs 10 crore, almost on par with the outgoing Shastri.

Dravid apparently was persuaded to take up the assignment during his meeting with BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah in Dubai on the sidelines of the Indian Premier League. 

Indian skipper Virat Kohli said he had “no idea” when asked about the development ahead of the T20 World Cup in Dubai.

“No idea exactly what’s happening on that front. No detailed discussion with anyone yet,” Kohli said on Saturday.

While Dravid’s decision to replace Shastri makes his appointment a mere formality, the process of naming the new coach will still be followed -- inviting applications and interviewing “vetted” candidates. Dravid’s decision also eases the pressure on the BCCI which would have potentially faced embarrassment had it failed to attract an ideal person for the job.

Though Shastri had expressed his unwillingness to continue in the post, his candidature wouldn’t have been entertained on technical grounds also as he would have been just a few months short of the eligible age criterion of below 60. In all likelihood, Dravid will work as an interim coach for the New Zealand series before the process is completed as the BCCI has delayed advertising for the post.

Dravid is expected to get his India ‘A’ and U-19 and NCA bowling coach Paras Mhambrey to join him in the national team as well. Current batting coach Vikram Rathour too is set to be retained while there would be a new fielding coach as R Sridhar, along with the outgoing bowling coach Bharat Arun, has written to the Board asking himself to be “relieved” of his assignment.  

One of the greatest players to have played for India, Dravid is largely credited with developing the second-line of Indian players through his six-year stint as India ‘A’ and U-19 coach and as NCA’s head to oversee the overall structure of Indian cricket. 

Some of the players who have graduated from the “Dravid school” are Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Hanuma Vihari while a few like Mohammad Siraj, Shreyas Iyer, Mayank Agarwal immensely benefitted from his expertise when they were part of India ‘A’ set-up.

Dravid takes up the job at a crucial juncture in Indian cricket with split captaincy set to come into effect after the T20 WC when Virat Kohli ceases to be the captain in the shortest format. He will also have to oversee the smooth transition of Indian cricket as some of the seniors in the team may have to be eased out in a phased manner.    

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