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Top 5 Cricketers Who Have Been Great Coaches For Team India

image-lm6hli7zCurrent Indian captain and coach, Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid (AP)

The role of a cricketing coach transcends that of a mere strategist. They are tasked with the responsibility of nurturing talent, maintaining discipline, and transforming a budding player’s potential into the pinnacle of their on-field success.

In short, the role of a coach cannot be overstated, especially when they are overseeing a team from a cricket-crazy nation like India. Holding influence as profound as some of the greats of Indian cricket taking centre-stage on the field, these celebrated mentors have been shaping up their batch by sharing their own wisdom and expertise.

Often operating under the shadows of legendary cricketers, Indian coaches for long have walked the same path, faced same challenges, coped similar media scrutiny in defeats but received little-to-no credit in team triumphs.

Celebrating some of the most exceptional minds behind Team India’s success, here at OneCricket we look at five of the best Indian coaches who brought their own international playing experience to the table.

1. Gary Kirsten

image-lm6hjjbrGary Kirsten lifted by Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina after 2011 WC win (Twitter)

Unbeknownst to him, Gary Kirsten emerged as one of the leading candidates among BCCI’s high-table to coach Team India following their T20 World Cup triumph in 2007. A 100-Test South African veteran, the legendary batter reluctantly accepted the job and formed an unlikely bond with then charismatic captain MS Dhoni.

Kirsten’s international experience, coupled with Dhoni’s penchant for strategic success took Team India to numerous trophies, series wins and titles. Under the Proteas legend, the Indian Test team defeated Australia twice in succession and registered a rare series win in New Zealand, all culminating to their number one ranking in 2009.

The Indian limited-overs team also clinched a tri-series, an Asia Cup, a series win in New Zealand and unprecedented success at home, all setting up team’s historic victory at the 2011 World Cup to mark an end to Kirsten’s successful coaching tenure.

During the victory parade at the stadium, the former South African opener was fittingly carried around by Suresh Raina and a then young Virat Kohli as a gesture of respect.

2. John Wright

image-lm6hg5a4Sourav Ganguly with John Wright (Twitter)

Former New Zealand cricketer John Wright enjoyed a successful coaching stint with Team India, where he was paired with Sourav Ganguly for a major part of his tenure. He also supervised the Indian unit sporadically alongside Rahul Dravid. Wright’s alliance with Ganguly, meanwhile, went on to become one of the most celebrated chapters of India’s cricketing folklore.

With Ganguly and Wright donning their respective leadership hats, the Indian team registered significant Test wins in England and Australia before upstaging Pakistan in Pakistan for the first time in history.

The ‘Men in Blue’ also reached the final of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, where they fell a mere step short from attaining peak glory against an unbeatable Australian side.

3. Ravi Shastri

image-lm6hdm7yRavi Shastri and Virat Kohli (AP)

Ravi Shastri was advocated to become Team India coach by none other than three of country’s all-time greats, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. In July 2017, he accepted the role with a will to share his 10-year playing wisdom, including India’s 1983 World Cup-win, with Virat Kohli and co.

While the team failed to secure a single ICC title under his coaching reign, Shastri’s troops did manage to register one of the biggest highs of India’s Test history, a series win in Australia. A couple of Australian summers later, an injury-ravaged Indian team under Shastri replicated the feat to script one of the greatest comebacks in the game, thus shrugging off their 36-run effort from the first Test of the same series.

4. Rahul Dravid

image-lm6h84r5Rahul Dravid with captain Rohit Sharma (AP)

Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid took over team’s coaching command following their tumultuous T20 World Cup 2021 first-round exit. His arrival also coincided with a new all-format captain, Rohit Sharma.

During his short run with the Indian team so far, the ‘Men in Blue’ have enjoyed unparalleled success at home, white-ball series wins in England and West Indies, and a clear path into the final of the 2023 World Test Championship.

5. Duncan Fletcher

image-lm6hcb7yDuncan Fletcher with MS Dhoni (AP)

Duncan Fletcher joined the Indian team following 2011 World Cup upon outgoing coach Gary Kirsten’s recommendation. Overseeing the troops alongside MS Dhoni’s leadership, the team won eight series in a row at one stage, and lifted the 2013 Champions Trophy in England.

Apart from 2013’s ICC title, some of India’s prominent success at home under Fletcher’s influence occurred when they blanked England 5-0 in 2011 ODIs and trashed Australia 4-0 in Tests a little over a year later.

Under the former Zimbabwean cricketer, the ‘Men in Blue’ also looked clear favourites to claim the 2014 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh, until batting hiccups in the final against Sri Lanka ended their dream. By the time of Fletcher’s departure from the Indian team after their unsuccessful title-defence at the 2015 World Cup, he had already underpinned enough memorable triumphs to leave a lasting impact.