5 Youngest Head Coaches Of Team India

Gambhir is the 5th youngest to coach Team India [X]
Gambhir is the 5th youngest to coach Team India [X]

Head coaches often play a pivotal role in cricket by steering their teams to victory through their strategic acumen and deep understanding of the game. Over the decades, Indian cricket has been shaped by some of the greatest coaching minds, who have imparted invaluable wisdom, fostered talent and instilled a winning mindset.

While experience is often deemed crucial for the job of a head coach, such profound wisdom is not always synonymous with age.

 Here at OneCricket, we take a look at five of the youngest head coaches appointed by the BCCI to supervise Indian cricket.

5 Youngest Head Coaches Of Team India:

5. Gautam Gambhir - 42 years in 2024

Gautam Gambhir was an integral member of India’s T20 World Cup and ODI World Cup winning teams of 2007 and 2011 respectively. As captain, the former Indian opener led KKR to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, and mentored them to their third victory a decade later in 2024.

Owing to his Midas touch in major tournaments, Gautam Gambhir was appointed as Rahul Dravid’s successor for the coaching gig of the Indian cricket team after their 2024 T20 World Cup victory in June. At the time of his induction for the high-profile job, the cricketer was aged just 42 to become one of the youngest Indian head coaches in history.

4. Gary Kirsten - 41 years in 2008

With no prior experience of coaching in international cricket, former South African batter Gary Kirsten was appointed as India’s head coach in late-2008 at the age of 41. His association with captain MS Dhoni went on to become one of the most successful ventures for Team India, as they went on to win a Test series in New Zealand, levelled another in South Africa and also attained the number one Test rankings.

Moreover, Kirsten’s three-year tenure culminated with India’s historic 2011 World Cup win, following which the Proteas legend was carried around the field by Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and Yusuf Pathan to cap a celebratory evening in Mumbai.

3. Kapil Dev - 40 years in 1999

Amidst India’s constant overseas troubles in the late 1990s, 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev, at the age of 40, was appointed as team’s head coach in September 1999. His selection also coincided with the appointment of new Indian captain in the form of all-time great Sachin Tendulkar.

As it turned out, Kapil Dev’s tenure was marred with a fresh string of defeats for Team India, as they secured just one Test win in eight attempts and nine ODI wins in 25 matches. In September 2000, i.e., roughly a year after his appointment, Kapil was forced to resign as head coach after facing severe backlash and pressure from fans of Indian cricket.

2. Sandeep Patil - 39 years in 1996

Former Indian batter and member of the 1983 World Cup winning side, Sandeep Patil signed on to coach the national team at the age of 39 in March 1996, i.e. following the conclusion of the 1996 ODI World Cup. He succeeded Ajit Wadekar at the time to command the Indian team until the end of the year.

During his regime, Team India lost a Test and an ODI series in England; failed to qualify for the final of the 1996 Quadrangular Singer World Series, and a lost a five-match rubber to Pakistan by a 2-3 margin in Canada. Following his unsuccessful stint for the Indian team, Sandeep Patil went on to bag a successful coaching gig for Kenya, and served the BCCI through multiple roles in early 2010s.

1. Ashok Mankad - 35 years in 1982

Former cricketer Ashok Mankad was appointed as India’s head coach in 1982, i.e., just four years after he played his final international match for Team India. At the time of his appointment, Mankad was aged just 35 to become the youngest head coach in Indian cricket history.

Under his guidance, the Indian team failed to win a single match on their Test and ODI tour of England in June; and also failed to defeat Sri Lanka in a home Test series.