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Make or break era ft. Gautam Gambhir

Make or break era ft. Gautam Gambhir

Ruthless. That’s the word that describes Gambhir. A characteristic that goes by almost every other Delhi-born.

On July 9, stating an infinity of rumours as true, Gambhir was appointed as the head coach of the Indian team, a dream job for retired cricketers. But this is not an easy country to coach. If you make a decision that doesn’t help the team’s cause, you will be touted the next Chappell, or you will find yourself in the same annals as a Kirsten or a Fletcher or a Shastri or a Dravid fall.

There’s a pre-conceived notion in cricket fans’ minds that Gambhir has an Australian mindset, that of a champion. He has himself admitted that losing on the field is something that doesn’t go to his liking. With that said, one has to bring up the 75 and 97 from 2007 and 2011. It is not to suggest that he individually led India to a couple of World Cups, but it is the mindset – of hating to lose even when you see Sachin and Sehwag succumb to a curly-haired Malinga at the Wankhede.

With his blunt, unbiased, and head-punch-like perspectives, Gambhir has found himself in pop culture, where meme lords have made him a regular feature on social media.

Ronaldo or Messi? Rashford. Who is India’s best white-ball cricketer, Sachin or Virat? Yuvraj. You can’t change his mind even when no odds are favouring him.

A straight and seldom not-Gambhir face, the younger generation would relate him with a football club manager, supporting eleven men from the sidelines. One might think, why is he showing so intense? He is not even playing. Just a mentor, right? No, he is playing. In his mind. Awakening every bit of sixth sense, probably without even needing coconut water or caffeine shots.

Sourav Ganguly, Gambhir’s first captain as an international player, famously quotes, “Leadership is more off the field than on it,”. Gambhir took it seriously, and applied it in Dada‘s den, Calcutta, twice, as KKR skipper in 2012 and 2014. He kept Calcutta waiting for a decade until he finally returned to the franchise just days before the 2024 edition as a mentor.

Also Read: Gautam Gambhir reacts after appointment as Head Coach of Team India

A video released by KKR on his Day 1 as their mentor revealed that they were playing for nothing but the finale. Well, the boys didn’t disappoint, as even Gambhir got emotional, and probably shed a joyous tear or two in the dressing room to see his dream realise.

Gambhir’s essence lies in his no-nonsense attitude. That has earned him big-time success in IPL. Will the same attitude work in the Indian setup now that Rahul Dravid has left?

To be rightly called The Wall’s successor, there’s still time, as, in literal terms, he has to follow in the footsteps of playing a long innings like Dravid. But wait, has he done that before? Yes. Remember Napier 2009 – Where he batted 436 deliveries for his 137, an innings that remains underappreciated to date? But it is to the likings of Dravid, who had a slightly more patient knock in terms of strike rate in that game — 28.18 against Gambhir’s 31.42.

We can’t compare, but there’s always pressure to be better than your predecessor, and high-pressure conditions have often seen Gambhir not just resist, but retaliate. And he’s getting all the luxury of delicacies with the choicest sides and accompaniments.

To un-metaphorise that, Gambhir’s reported demand of having his KKR fellow Abhishek Nayar as deputy is also likely to be honoured. So, the BCCI is leaving no stone unturned to liberalise the new head coach in creating a team and moving it in the direction he wants.

The celebrated move though might have its own side effects. His rift with Virat Kohli back in 2013 is well known. It was followed by a heated tussle during the LSG vs RCB game a decade later. It won’t be surprising if there’s a cold war within the team, but one should be optimistic about two Delhi boys working in tandem for India. Imagine their energies channelised in one direction. An intense on-field personality and a powerhouse of a brain.

For now, all the hype and all the talks remain premature. Let the eggs hatch, and then do all the punditry.

India are fresh from their T20 World Cup victory, and Michael Vaughan has already predicted them getting on a trophy-collecting spree soon. The upcoming Champions Trophy and World Test Championship Final in 2025 will be the first big goal for the 42-year-old-led Indian side. Wins in Sri Lanka, South Africa, and then, Australia, could be the baby steps in achieving that.

Check Also: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah set to miss upcoming Sri Lanka tour

The head coach would be aware of the pressure and outside noise that will follow and the expectations that will arise. Worry not, though. Because as said earlier, he knows how to resist and retaliate.

 

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