BCCI Considers Zaheer Khan and Lakshmipathy Balaji Prospective Bowling Coaches as Gautam Gambhir Takes Charge

On July 9, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced Gautam Gambhir as the new head coach of the men’s cricket team. As Gambhir steps into this pivotal role, the focus has shifted to the selection of the bowling coach, with several high-profile names under consideration. While Gambhir has proposed former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) pacer Vinay Kumar, the BCCI is also evaluating ODI World Cup 2011 winner Zaheer Khan and former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji.

BCCI’s Deliberations on Bowling Coach Selection

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The BCCI’s decision-making process involves a thorough evaluation of the candidates’ capabilities and fit for the role. According to sources, some BCCI officials have expressed reservations about Vinay Kumar’s ability to deliver as the bowling coach. The board is keen to maintain control over key decisions and avoid granting the head coach full autonomy in such matters.

“BCCI does not want one person (head coach) to have full autonomy and intend to keep the control within the board. That’s why decisions will be in the hands of BCCI, keeping in mind the betterment of cricket,” a source revealed.

Candidates for the Bowling Coach Position

Zaheer Khan, a veteran of the Indian cricket team and a pivotal member of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad, is a top contender for the bowling coach position. Known for his expertise in swing bowling and his strategic insights, Zaheer has the experience and knowledge to mentor the next generation of Indian bowlers.

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Lakshmipathy Balaji, another strong candidate, has an impressive record with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and has been a consistent performer in domestic cricket. His experience in various formats and understanding of the game make him a viable option for the role of bowling coach.

Gambhir’s Vision for Support Staff

In addition to the bowling coach, Gambhir has made recommendations for other key support staff positions. He has suggested Abhishek Nayar for the batting coach role, citing their successful collaboration at KKR when the Shreyas Iyer-led side won their third IPL title in 2024. Initially, Gambhir proposed Jonty Rhodes for the fielding coach position but has expressed satisfaction with the work of T Dilip, whose contract ended with the T20 World Cup 2024. Dilip is likely to reapply and retain his position.

Gambhir’s first assignment as head coach will be the tour of Sri Lanka, beginning on July 27, where India will play three ODIs and three T20Is. Before this tour, Gambhir will have his first meeting with the selectors to finalize the squad and support staff. Despite his desire to join the Shubman Gill-led side on their Zimbabwe tour, his request was denied.

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Expressing his dedication and enthusiasm for his new role, Gambhir shared his thoughts on social media platform ‘X’: “India is my identity and serving my country has been the greatest privilege of my life. I’m honoured to be back, albeit wearing a different hat. But my goal is the same as it has always been, to make every Indian proud. The men in blue shoulder the dreams of 1.4 billion Indians and I will do everything in my power to make these dreams come true!”

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On July 9, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced Gautam Gambhir as the new head coach of the men’s cricket team. As Gambhir steps into this pivotal role, the focus has shifted to the selection of the bowling coach, with several high-profile names under consideration. While Gambhir has proposed former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) pacer Vinay Kumar, the BCCI is also evaluating ODI World Cup 2011 winner Zaheer Khan and former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) pacer Lakshmipathy Balaji.

BCCI's Deliberations on Bowling Coach Selection

The BCCI's decision-making process involves a thorough evaluation of the candidates' capabilities and fit for the role. According to sources, some BCCI officials have expressed reservations about Vinay Kumar’s ability to deliver as the bowling coach. The board is keen to maintain control over key decisions and avoid granting the head coach full autonomy in such matters.

“BCCI does not want one person (head coach) to have full autonomy and intend to keep the control within the board. That’s why decisions will be in the hands of BCCI, keeping in mind the betterment of cricket,” a source revealed.

Candidates for the Bowling Coach Position

Zaheer Khan, a veteran of the Indian cricket team and a pivotal member of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad, is a top contender for the bowling coach position. Known for his expertise in swing bowling and his strategic insights, Zaheer has the experience and knowledge to mentor the next generation of Indian bowlers.

Lakshmipathy Balaji, another strong candidate, has an impressive record with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and has been a consistent performer in domestic cricket. His experience in various formats and understanding of the game make him a viable option for the role of bowling coach.

Gambhir's Vision for Support Staff

In addition to the bowling coach, Gambhir has made recommendations for other key support staff positions. He has suggested Abhishek Nayar for the batting coach role, citing their successful collaboration at KKR when the Shreyas Iyer-led side won their third IPL title in 2024. Initially, Gambhir proposed Jonty Rhodes for the fielding coach position but has expressed satisfaction with the work of T Dilip, whose contract ended with the T20 World Cup 2024. Dilip is likely to reapply and retain his position.

Gambhir's first assignment as head coach will be the tour of Sri Lanka, beginning on July 27, where India will play three ODIs and three T20Is. Before this tour, Gambhir will have his first meeting with the selectors to finalize the squad and support staff. Despite his desire to join the Shubman Gill-led side on their Zimbabwe tour, his request was denied.

Expressing his dedication and enthusiasm for his new role, Gambhir shared his thoughts on social media platform 'X': “India is my identity and serving my country has been the greatest privilege of my life. I’m honoured to be back, albeit wearing a different hat. But my goal is the same as it has always been, to make every Indian proud. The men in blue shoulder the dreams of 1.4 billion Indians and I will do everything in my power to make these dreams come true!”

Stay updated with all the cricketing action, follow Cricadium on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, and Instagram