As India gears up for its participation in the upcoming ODI World Cup, the focus has shifted to the future of head coach Rahul Dravid, whose two-year contract is set to conclude at the end of the tournament. Dravid’s tenure with the team will be closely monitored, especially if India fails to reach the title clash. A mere semifinal appearance may not suffice, potentially prompting the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to begin the search for a new coach. The decision is pivotal, and the question remains whether “The Wall” would consider a contract renewal, whether in part or in full, if offered by BCCI supremo Jay Shah.
Within the cricketing community, discussions are emerging regarding the possibility of having separate coaches for limited-overs and Test formats, a strategy already adopted by teams like England. Such an approach could provide specialized expertise and tailored strategies for each format. If he desires, Dravid might continue as the red-ball coach, especially with India facing crucial Test series against South Africa (away) and England (at home) in the near future.
Dravid’s coaching tenure has been characterized by immense pressure and constant travel. Recognizing the toll it can take on a coach, the BCCI has granted Dravid breaks from his coaching duties to ensure his rest and recuperation. Given the high-pressure nature of his role, such considerations for his well-being have been essential.
While the prospect of searching for a new coach remains on the horizon, identifying suitable candidates presents its own challenges. One name that has surfaced is former cricketer Ashish Nehra, who has achieved success as an IPL coach. However, sources close to Nehra suggest that he may not be interested in the role, given his commitment to the Gujarat Titans until the conclusion of the 2025 season.
An anonymous former BCCI official has proposed the idea of having separate coaches for different formats after the World Cup. This approach would allow Dravid to continue as the red-ball coach if he is willing. However, the primary focus at this juncture remains on the impending ODI World Cup, set to commence on October 5.
“If India wins the World Cup, Dravid himself might prefer not to seek a renewal as he would like to conclude his stint on a high. But, in my opinion, after the World Cup, the BCCI should seriously contemplate having separate coaches for separate formats. They should approach Rahul to continue as the red-ball coach,” mentioned an anonymous former BCCI official to PTI.
Rahul Dravid’s tenure as the white-ball coach has encountered challenges and criticisms. Some have noted his cautious approach in making tough decisions, particularly in T20Is and ODIs. Questions have arisen about his retention of the aging top-three in T20Is, the omission of Ravichandran Ashwin during the World Test Championship final, the absence of a right-arm spinner, and the inclusion of KL Rahul without substantial match-fitness proof.
As India embarks on its journey in the ODI World Cup, the spotlight remains firmly on the future of Rahul Dravid as the head coach. While a successful campaign in the tournament could strengthen his position, concerns about his suitability as a white-ball coach persist. The decision regarding his future and the potential adoption of separate coaches for different formats will play a pivotal role in shaping India’s cricketing path post-World Cup, particularly as the team undergoes a transition phase with the departure of some cricketing legends.