Gautam Gambhir is yet to ink salary deal, first big ‘Test’ would be ‘Down Under’ | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: Gautam Gambhir‘s primary focus at the moment is assembling a support staff that aligns with his vision, as he prepares to tackle the immense challenges that lie ahead during his three-year tenure as India’s head coach. The financial details surrounding his appointment are yet to be finalized, but Gambhir considers that to be the “last of his concerns” at this juncture.
On Tuesday, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah officially announced Gautam Gambhir’s appointment, a move that had been anticipated for some time.However, it has been learned that his salary is yet to be finalized, though it is expected to be in the same range as his predecessors Rahul Dravid and Ravi Shastri.
“For Gautam, it was important that he took charge and salary and other stuff can be worked out as it’s not going anywhere. It is similar to the case of Ravi Shastri in 2014 when he was first made Director of Cricket over head coach Duncan Fletcher,” a BCCI source told PTI.
“The day Ravi joined, he didn’t even have a contract and things worked out. In the case of Gautam also, some finer details are being worked out. The salary will be in the same range of Rahul Dravid,” he added.
It is understood that Gambhir will be provided with his own team to work with, who will also closely coordinate with the NCA (National Cricket Academy) coaches. The NCA coaches oversee the pathways teams (India A and U-19) as well as targeted players.
“I look forward to working closely with the BCCI, Head of Cricket – Mr VVS Laxman, the support staff, and, most importantly, the players, as we work towards achieving success in the upcoming tournaments,” Gambhir had said.
Laxman, who is presently accompanying the youthful T20 squad in Zimbabwe, is anticipated to engage in a dialogue regarding the future course of action upon his return. This discussion will involve the newly appointed head coach, the chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar, and the two captains, Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya.

Brainstorming over Team India support staff

There is significant anticipation regarding the composition of Gambhir’s core support staff.
Abhishek Nayar, head of KKR‘s academy and a former Mumbai stalwart, has been instrumental as a back-room strategist for the IPL franchise. Known for his expertise as a life coach, he has effectively mentored players individually. Importantly, his close friendship with current captain Rohit Sharma positions him strongly as a potential assistant coach.
A BCCI office-bearer based in Delhi has reportedly proposed L Balaji and Zaheer Khan as contenders for the bowling coach role. There have also been mentions of R Vinay Kumar, rumored to be Gambhir’s preference. However, the BCCI is said to have turned down this suggestion, though there’s been no official word from BCCI secretary Jay Shah.
In terms of the fielding coach position, Jonty Rhodes’ name has surfaced again, but historically, the BCCI has favored nurturing its own talent.
For instance, R Sridhar and T Dilip rose through the ranks via the NCA and India U-19 setup, under Shastri and Dravid respectively. There’s speculation that Munish Bali, with his familiarity with emerging players, could be considered for this role.
The squads for the upcoming Sri Lanka T20I and ODI series will be announced shortly. Gambhir, having focused primarily on ODIs and Tests during his tenure as IPL-winning KKR mentor, will likely maintain this emphasis in the next year.

Major challenges ahead

Gambhir faces his first major challenge with India’s upcoming Test series against Australia, a pivotal contest considering India’s recent successes under Ravi Shastri in 2018-19 and 2020-21.
This series, marking the first five-Test encounter between the two nations since 1991-92, begins at the Optus Stadium in Perth, known for its challenging pitches.
Having honed his strategic skills during his captaincy tenure for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy from 2013-17, Gambhir’s credibility as a red-ball coach will be closely scrutinized, especially with India’s World Test Championship qualification on the line.
The schedule also includes the Champions Trophy in Pakistan, pending BCCI approval. Gambhir, known for his outspoken support of the Indian Army, has consistently opposed cricketing engagements in Pakistan.
Now back on the BCCI payroll, it remains to be seen how he navigates this stance, especially if India’s participation in a major ICC event hinges on it.

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