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Secretary denies BCCI approached Ponting, Langer for India coaching job

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BCCI secretary Jay Shah on Friday rejected claims that the board has approached any former Australian cricketers to be India’s next head coach. He hinted that Rahul Dravid‘s successor could be an Indian by saying that he should have a “deep understanding” of the game’s structure in the country.

While Dravid has told the BCCI that he is not seeking a third stint, former Australian players like Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer said that they had turned down approaches for the high-profile position.

“Neither I nor the BCCI have approached any former Australian cricketer with a coaching offer,” Shah said in a statement. “The reports circulating in certain media sections are completely incorrect.”

Both Ponting and Langer are involved in the IPL as the head coaches of Delhi Capitals and Lucknow Super Giants respectively. Gautam Gambhir, who is currently mentoring Kolkata Knight Riders, has been sounded out by the BCCI for the job, while Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming has also been linked to it.

“Finding the right coach for our national team is a meticulous and thorough process,” Shah said. “We are focused on identifying individuals who possess a deep understanding of the Indian cricket structure and have risen through the ranks.”

The BCCI secretary also said that having in-depth knowledge of Indian domestic cricket will be one of the important criteria for appointing the next coach. He said the understanding would be crucial to “truly elevate Team India to the next level.”

Ponting had said on Thursday that he was approached to take over the role but said he declined as it did not fit with his “lifestyle” right now.

“I’ve seen a lot of reports about it,” Ponting told the ICC Review. “Normally these things pop up on social media before you even know about them, but there were a few little one-on-one conversations during the IPL, just to get a level of interest from me as to whether I would do it.”

“I’d love to be a senior coach of a national team, but with the other things that I have in my life and wanting to have a bit of time at home…everyone knows if you take a job working with the Indian team you can’t be involved in an IPL team, so it would take that out of it as well.”

Taking up the job of coaching India also implies spending 10-11 months away from home but Ponting said his family seemed ready for it.

“…I had a whisper to my son about it, and I said, ‘Dad’s been offered the Indian coaching job’ and he said, ‘Just take it, dad, we would love to move over there for the next couple of years’”, Ponting said. “That’s how much they love being over there and the culture of cricket in India, but right now it probably doesn’t exactly fit into my lifestyle.”

Meanwhile, Langer, who had remained noncommittal about applying for India coaching role after IPL clash between LSG and Mumbai Indians, said he would “never say never” but at the same time revealed receiving crucial advice from LSG captain KL Rahul.

“It would be an amazing job. I also know that it’s an all-encompassing role, and having done it for four years with the Australian team, honestly, it’s exhausting,” Langer said on BBC’s Stumped Podcast.

“And that’s the Australian job. You never say never. And the pressure of doing it in India… I was talking to KL Rahul and he said, ‘You know, if you think there’s pressure and politics in an IPL team, multiply that by a thousand, (that is) coaching India. That was a good bit of advice, I guess.

“It would be an awesome job, but not for me at the moment.”

Shah described the position of India’s head coach as the “most prestigious job” in international cricket and said it demands high level of professionalism.

“When we talk about international cricket, no role is more prestigious than that of the head coach of the Indian cricket team,” he said. “Team India commands the largest fan base globally, enjoying support that is truly unrivalled. Our rich history, passion for the game make this one of the most lucrative jobs in the world.

“The role demands a high level of professionalism as one gets to nurture some of the best cricketers in the world and an assembly line of talented cricketers to follow. Catering to the aspirations of a billion fans is a huge honour and the BCCI will pick the right candidate, capable of propelling Indian cricket forward.” (ESPNcricinfo)

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