Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Stephen Fleming remains frontrunner for Indian men’s cricket team head coach job

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Former New Zealand cricketer and current Chennai Super Kings (CSK) coach, Stephen Fleming remains the frontrunner to replace Rahul Dravid as the head coach for the men’s senior cricket team. BCCI on Monday (May 13) opened the process to select the next head coach. The last date for the submission of the application is May 27 i.e. the day of the IPL final.

An Indian Express report claimed that BCCI officials have already held informal conversations with Fleming regarding the job during the IPL. However, the Kiwi is yet to make a decision about his future with CSK ready to extend his contract. 

Fleming’s credentials as the leading man for the job were enhanced after reports claimed that former Indian batter VVS Laxman had seemingly dropped out of the race for the job. The legendary middle-order batter, who is currently the head of the National Cricket Academy had been tipped to take over from Dravid last year when the latter’s contract expired.

Dravid’s extended contract as the head coach lapses after the T20 World Cup. With a Champions Trophy and another 50-over World Cup on the horizon, Laxman’s refusal suggests that BCCI was gearing up for a foreign coach to take over the reins. 

However, CSK have denied any such rumours and CEO Kasi Viswanathan said that there has been no such communication between Fleming and the franchise till now. 

“I have not heard anything like this. There has been no communication from Stephen Fleming to CSK either,” CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan told Sports Now.

Long-term coach required

Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary, has made it clear that there will be no split coaching duties – meaning any former player who takes up the job, will have to be on the road for 10 months a year. 

“We are looking for a long-term coach for three years,” Shah had said last week.

“There is no precedent of different coaches for different formats in Indian cricket. Besides, we have a number of all-format players. Ultimately, it will be the Cricket Advisory Committee’s (CAC) call. I have to implement what they decide,” he added. 

A day after BCCI invited the applications, former Australian cricketer Justin Langer also threw his hat in the ring to replace Dravid. 

“Well, I am curious. I’ve never ever thought about it. I have deep respect for any international coach because I understand the pressure, but coaching the Indian team would be an extraordinary role. From what I’ve seen with the amount of talent I’ve seen in this country, it would be fascinating,” Langer was quoted as saying by Times of India.

Langer is currently serving as Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) head coach, having previously coached Australia to T20 World Cup victory in 2021 while retaining the Ashes on two separate occasions viz. 2019 and 2021.

(With inputs from agencies)

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