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Team India head coach Gautam Gambhir (Photo: ICC)
Gautam Gambhir's in-tray: Priorities as India men's new head coach
Team India head coach Gautam Gambhir (Photo: ICC)

New Delhi [India], July 10 (ANI): Former opener and left-hand batter Gautam Gambhir was named as the new head coach of the India men's team on Tuesday.

Indian cricket is bracing up for a new era as the celebrations of the T20 World Cup triumph settle down.

Retirements of stalwarts Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli from T20Is aside, a major change that affects the team across all three formats came when Rahul Dravid stepped down after a memorable tenure as head coach.

The unassuming Indian legend took the team to heights in his three years as head coach, guiding the team to the final of the ICC events in all three formats - the ICC World Test Championship, the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup and the ICC Men's T20 World. Only one of those might have brought home a trophy, but it was no easy journey to reach the decisive clash each time around.

Coming in to replace Dravid is Gautam Gambhir, who has quite a connection to big titles. He played a starring role in India's title triumphs in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in 2007 and the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in 2011. He also captained Kolkata Knight Riders to IPL title victories in 2012 and 2014 and later mentored the team to another title win in 2024.

Gambhir, though, takes over the reins of an Indian team that's already near the top of the world. A packed calendar across formats awaits Gambhir and the Indian team.

We take a look at what Gambhir will have on his agenda in the three formats.

Tests:

Unlike ODIs and T20Is, India isn't at the top of the ICC Men's Test Team Rankings. They have reached the final of the two ICC World Test Championships, but couldn't place their hands on the mace.

India comes off the back of a brilliant Test series win against England at home, the 4-1 scoreline seeing the team top the ICC World Test Championship standings. Currently, the team has six wins in nine Tests in this cycle and are primed to reach a third successive final. But the road ahead isn't as straightforward. After two home series against Bangladesh and New Zealand respectively, India will embark on a tough tour Down Under, where they'll play five Tests, and the series could be pivotal in deciding their fortunes this cycle.

After two successful Australia tours since 2018, the team will be eyeing another series victory, but Pat Cummins' side has proved to be a thorn in their side in recent times. The series will likely present Gambhir's sternest test this WTC cycle.

ODIs:

The wounds of a heartbreaking loss in the final of a home Cricket World Cup might have healed a bit with the T20 World Cup trophy, but India have two big ICC events awaiting in this format in the next four years - the Champions Trophy next year and the Cricket World Cup in three years time.

The team is also very likely to undergo a transition in between. Rohit Sharma will lead the side at the Champions Trophy, but Gambhir knows that the process of blooding the next captain, and the next set of players, will need to begin soon.

India haven't tasted a title win in this format since 2013, when they won the Champions Trophy, and he will hope to turn those fortunes around next year.

T20Is:

The team is basking in glory after the T20 World Cup win in the Caribbean and the USA, but it was shortly followed by three major retirement announcements as Rohit, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja drew curtains to their T20I career. While the next event is two years away, this is a crucial transition period for the side that Gambhir will have to oversee. Aside from picking the new captain, the former India opener will also have the task of filling in three key positions in the starting XI.

With the number of players the IPL is churning out, there's a problem of plenty for Gambhir to deal with and making optimal use of the resources available to him could be the difference between disappointment and defending the title in 2027 at home. (ANI)

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