As the search for the Indian men’s cricket team’s head coach intensifies, Gautam Gambhir has emerged as a strong contender. However, amidst speculation, Virat Kohli’s childhood coach, Rajkumar Sharma, has thrown a curveball by endorsing MS Dhoni for the role. With the official deadline for applications passing on May 27, the BCCI has remained tight-lipped about the applicants, except clarifying that no Australian cricketer has been approached. According to BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s recent statement, the replacement for Rahul Dravid, the current coach, is likely to be an Indian, hinting at Gambhir as a frontrunner. However, Sharma’s opinion differs, advocating for Dhoni’s leadership prowess and experience.

Sharma’s preference for an Indian coach aligns with the sentiment echoed by many in the cricketing community. He believes that Dhoni’s extensive cricketing background and his track record of winning major tournaments make him a compelling choice. Despite Dhoni’s ambiguous stance on his IPL retirement, with speculation rife after the conclusion of IPL 2024, there’s uncertainty surrounding his future plans. While some anticipate Dhoni’s retirement, Chennai Super Kings’ CEO, Kasi Viswanath, remains optimistic about his return for another season, further clouding the situation.

Sharma’s endorsement of Dhoni is grounded in the belief that Dhoni commands respect in the dressing room, a sentiment echoed by many who have played under his leadership. With two World Cup trophies under his belt and a reputation for astute captaincy, Dhoni’s leadership credentials are unquestionable. Sharma highlights Dhoni’s ability to manage star-studded teams effectively, citing his success in leading the Indian cricket team during a period of transition.

In summary, while Gambhir appears to be a strong contender for the role of India’s head coach, Sharma’s endorsement of Dhoni introduces an intriguing perspective. With the BCCI yet to disclose the applicants for the position, speculation continues to swirl within the cricketing fraternity regarding the future leadership of the Indian men’s cricket team.

“Dhoni will have more respect in the dressing room and he has played this format for a long time. Being able to plan for the team and manage it properly, is most needed in the team because when Dhoni became the captain, there were big players in that team like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble, Gautam Gambhir, and Yuvraj Singh were present. Despite this, Dhoni handled the team brilliantly,” Sharma attaced.

Former India fast bowler Atul Wasan offered a different perspective on the role of a coach in T20 cricket. “I think the role of a coach should be removed in T20 cricket and a mentor should be kept in its place and a format expert should be kept. Just as AB de Villiers is a specialist in T20 cricket. The West Indies team ruled world cricket from 1979 to 1989. Is it because of your coach? India won the 1983 and 2007 World Cups because of its coach. According to me, the work of a coach is limited to taking the team from the field to the hotel. I will not give the coach the responsibility for the team’s loss and also the credit for the team’s win. Just as in football, there are managers, not coaches. Similarly, in cricket too, instead of a coach, there should be a manager who manages the team.”

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