Laxman looks best bet to replace Dravid but will Langer, Gambhir be interested?

Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid

New Delhi | National Cricket Academy head and former India great VVS Laxman looks best placed to replace Rahul Dravid as the chief coach of the men's national team if the latter decides against reapplying for the high-profile job.

With BCCI secretary Jay Shah ruling out possibility of having different coaches for red and white ball formats, it will be a hunt for one candidate, who will have to live out of a suitcase for majority of the next three and half years.

Dravid, whose contract ends after the T20 World Cup, will be well within his rights to reapply for the post.

However with BCCI seeking applications from interested parties by May 27, a day after the IPL final, it is understood that the parent body is keen to hire a fresh face.

PTI looks at some of the big names who could be interested in applying for the post.

VVS Laxman:

If he applies for the top post, Laxman will be a runaway favourite. The 49-year-old has been NCA's head for past three years and is overseeing the development of next batch of Indian cricketers through board's pathways system (India A and India U19).

He has also had experience of coaching the senior team when Dravid was on leave. The Indian team under his guidance played in the Asian Games, bilateral T20s versus Australia at home and away series in England, New Zealand and Ireland.

With the likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami still around for at least two more years, Laxman with his cricketing acumen and genial demeanour could be the bridge between old and new in Indian cricket.

"Must be willing to meet work expectations and pressures associated with handling marquee athletes," is one of the job requirements and who better than Laxman, who shares great rapport with the current batch.

Gautam Gambhir:

Among those who have played top flight cricket in the last 10 years and saw formats evolve, Gambhir's tactical nous cannot be ignored. Two IPL titles as captain with KKR, back-to-back play-offs with LSG in their first two years, Gambhir has always been praised for his man management skills.

Under him, a rejuvenated KKR are back in play-offs but a proud man that he is, will Gambhir apply on his own if he isn't sent feelers by the BCCI top brass? Also, his deep emotional attachment with KKR and a personal bond with principal owner Shah Rukh Khan could stop him from applying.

The other aspect is the person that he is -- a strong minded individual who would love a free hand. Virat Kohli will also be around for the better part of the next three years and given the history between both of them, it could be a rocky terrain. But it must be mentioned that Gambhir and current skipper Rohit Sharma share a terrific relationship.

Justin Langer:

Ashes and T20 World Cup winning Australian coach is a good tactician but also a strict disciplinarian.

In a recent interview, Langer did say that he is not averse to giving it a thought but being an India coach could be both mentally and physically demanding.

The same perks are always available in the IPL, working just for two months a year. If Dravid doesn't reapply, the most important series would be the one Down Under and who better than 'JL' to provide some inside information about his 'home team'.

A Gambhir or Gujarat Titans head coach Ashish Nehra have proved their coaching abilities in white ball cricket but not in the longest format.

Stephen Fleming:

Having worked for a decade and a half with an extremely successful franchise like CSK, the New Zealander's name always comes up for discussion every time BCCI invites application for a head coach.

Fleming has always been happy working for CSK and now for its SA 20 franchise Johannesburg Super Kings. He has in the past declined offers from the BCCI and even if feelers are sent, there would always be a question mark over his availability for 7 to 8 months in a year and staying away from his home in Christchurch.

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