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From John Wright to Rahul Dravid: All you need to know about India’s cricket team coaches

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Former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid is set to take over the highly demanding role of India’s cricket team coach after the conclusion of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021.

Dravid has earlier coached the Indian cricket team in a limited-overs tour to Sri Lanka in July 2021 when India’s first team was away in England for the World Test Championship Final and the subsequent tour to England.

Dravid, who is also fourth-highest run-getter in Test cricket (13,288), has previously coached the India under-19 and India A sides from 2016 to 2019. During that time, India finished runners-up at the 2016 U-19 Cricket World Cup before going on to claim the title in the 2018 edition of the tournament. He also monitored the progress of the youth sides before being appointed as the Director of Cricket Operations at the National Cricket Academy in 2019.

The Wall, as he is nicknamed, will now take over the duty from Ravi Shastri after the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, becoming India's 26th coach.

Here, we take a look at the coaches of Team India through the years.

India cricket team coaches

Back in the days, India did not have a full-time coach but had a manager that travelled with the squad. In 1971, Keki Tarapore was appointed as the manager and is widely considered India’s first coach. He held the job for a year, before army man Hemu Adhikari took over.

In the next decade, there were numerous changes in the role at the helm, with mainly former cricketers taking up the duty. One such First Class cricketer PR Man Singh was the manager when India lifted the first World Cup in 1983.

It wasn’t until 1992 when long term contracts were handed to coaches instead of managerial roles on a tour-wise basis.

Ajit Wadekar, Madan Lal, Sandeep Patil, Anshuman Gaekwad and World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev held the position in the 1990s.

In 2000, John Wright became India's first foreign coach. The New Zealander took charge when Indian cricket was going through a turmoil on account of the match-fixing scandal. 

Wright forged a fruitful partnership with the newly appointed captain Sourav Ganguly and took Indian cricket to new heights by nurturing youngsters like Harbhajan Singh,Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Mohammad Kaif, and Ashish Nehra.

The formidable coach-captain pairing took India to a historic 2-1 Test series against Australia and home, drew a test series 1-1 in Australia, and guided India to the final of the 2003 Cricket World Cup.

Team India has had four foreign coaches so far, with John Wright enjoying the longest stint as a foreign coach (2000-2005).

Greg Chappell was the next coach for Team India but his tenure proved to be rather unpleasant following his turbulent times with skipper Sourav Ganguly, who was asked to step down from captaincy citing poor form.

India reached its highest point in the 21st century under Gary Kirsten as he guided India to World Cup glory in 2011, ending a 28-year wait for the trophy. The former South African also commanded India to the No. 1 Test spot for the first time in 2010. 

Duncan Fletcher, Anil Kumble and Ravi Shastri held the roles before Shastri was appointed again in 2017.

Interestingly, Ravi Shastri and Ashok Mankad are the only coaches who have served in multiple stints. The two stints of Shastri (2015-16 & 2017-present) also make him the longest-serving Indian coach till date.

Ravi Shastri helped India reach the WTC final and delivered overseas Test victories in Australia and England but failed to win a world title.

Here’s a list of all the India cricket team coaches since the turn of the century.

Coach

Tenure

Country

John Wright

2000 - 2005

New Zealand

Greg Chappell

2005 - 2007

Australia

Lalchand Rajput

2007 - 2008

India

Gary Kirsten

2008 - 2011

South Africa

Duncan Fletcher

2011 - 2015

Zimbabwe

Ravi Shastri

2015 - 2016

India

Sanjay Bangar

2016 - 2016

India

Anil Kumble

2016 - 2017

India

Ravi Shastri

2017 - 2021

India

Rahul Dravid

2021 - present

India

Featured photo: Ian Kington / AFP

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