The head coach of the Indian Cricket Team is a very coveted position and has a lot of pride and power. A lot of players have yearned for the post over the years. The most memorable stints as head coach of India were borne in the past by John Wright, Gary Kirsten and Ravi Shastri. It was under Kirsten’s tenure that India lifted the World Cup in 2011.
Rahul Dravid is the coach of the Indian Team at present. He took over from Ravi Shastri after the 20-20 World Cup in 2021. Though the Men in Blue have done well in the bilateral series under Dravid, they were not able to break their jinx at the 20-20 World Cup in Australia in 2022. They crashed out of the semifinals against England.
Here are five contenders to replace Rahul Dravid as India's head coach-
5. Ashish Nehra
Ashish Nehra has had a wonderful story with Indian cricket. He overcame injuries during his playing days a number of times. And on the back of impressive performances for Chennai in 2014 and 2015, he earned an India comeback and played in 2016 20-20 World Cup. He helped bowlers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah and mentored them.
Nehra also coached Bangalore as a bowling coach in the Indian T20 League’s 2018 and 2019 editions. In 2022, he coached the Gujarat franchise to their first title in their inaugural season along with skipper Hardik Pandya with whom he had a very good equation. With his expertise, he can become an Indian bowling coach, as well.
4. Sanjay Bangar
Sanjay Bangar worked with Ravi Shastri and was the batting coach of the Indian Team in 2014. He had also coached as head coach of India A and also was the batting coach of the Kochi franchise in 2010. He guided Punjab to an Indian T20 League final in 2014 as an assistant coach.
Bangar is currently the head coach of the Bangalore franchise. He has been associated with the Bangalore team for the last two-three years and has helped them to have three playoff finishes in the past three seasons. He works in tandem with Mike Hesson and Sridharan Sriram who is the director of cricket and batting and spin coach for Bangalore respectively.
3. Bharat Arun
Bharat Arun worked with Ravi Shastri and R Sridhar as the bowling coach of the Indian Team for a long time. He was able to improve the stamina and endurance levels of the bowlers and worked with them effectively so that they could increase their match intensity and bowl long spells with vigour.
He was also instrumental in the rise of Indian fast-bowling sensation Mohammed Siraj who is ruling the roost in all formats as an Indian player. Siraj had some tough initial days as an Indian fast bowler and Arun was there for him. Arun made the fast bowling unit more potent which resulted in series wins abroad.
2. Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble has been the head coach of the Indian cricket team after Ravi Shastri served as Director of cricket for a short while. He was the head coach for a year. India had a great time under Kumble and won a series against Australia at home and also an away series in the West Indies.
He was known to be a tough taskmaster and also took the bull by the horns. He kept the fitness standards of the Indian Team high and came up with a rule that players have to prove their fitness in domestic cricket before they come back into international cricket after an injury layoff. He had a very frosty relationship with Kohli and his tenure was cut short and his exit was unceremonious.
VVS Laxman has served as a mentor and coach in the Hyderabad franchise. He was a part of the franchise from the 2013 edition of the Indian T20 League as a mentor. He was there till the 2021 season after which he relinquished his post to become the head of the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
He has also been a coach of the U-19 side in the 50-over World Cup in the West Indies where he helped them win a title. He has also been the interim coach of the Indian Team and has taken charge of the national side whenever Dravid has taken a break or has been absent. He would be the most likely candidate as he has familiarity with the current players.