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Ricky Ponting Eyed to Replace Rahul Dravid as Coach: BCCI Alert

The hunt to find Team India's next head coach is up and running. The BCCI, on Monday, officially declared applications for candidates to apply, marking the end of the Rahul Dravid era with the completion of the T20 World Cup. Dravid, who was appointed the 27th head coach of the Indian national men's cricket team in November of 2021, decided not to seek another extension, and with VVS Laxman also not keen on taking up the role – which will disrupt the proceedings at the NCA – the BCCI finds itself in a bit of a spot.

Numerous names have popped up in the news to replace Dravid. Justin Langer expresses his curiousness about the job, while according to a report in the Indian Express, the BCCI has unofficially reached out to Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming. However, the former New Zealand captain is not too keen to take up the job. If true, the board has clearly warmed up to the concept of having an overseas coach, which was frowned upon for years.

In between, another name whose hat has been thrown into the mix is none other than the existing coach of the Delhi Capitals, Ricky Ponting. A former Australia batter and one of the most successful captains the game has ever seen, Ponting has apparently been sounded off by the BCCI, a report in RevSportz stated. Like Fleming, Ponting may have to give this a pass too, his concern stemming from the fact that a coach has to be on the road. Being the coach of the Indian cricket team is an arduous task, and more so in this case since Dravid's replacement will remain in charge until the 2027 World Cup.

If the report is true, this would be the second time the board would have approached Ponting for the role. Shortly after Dravid replaced Ravi Shastri as India coach, Ponting had revealed that the BCCI had shown interest in snapping him up before knuckling down on The Wall. Ponting had stated that during his time with the Delhi Capitals in the IPL, he was in talks with a few people who were 'hell-bent on making it work'. Ponting was also in talks to coach the Australian team at the time but shied away from it because he had a young family, a factor that could also act as a deterrent this time around.

Ponting, by no means, lacks experience as far as coaching is concerned. Besides being the coach of the Capitals since 2021 and spending a season as mentor of Mumbai Indians, Ponting has previously worked with Australia in different capacities, serving as their assistant coach for the 2019 World Cup in England and batting consultant on several occasions. Earlier this year, Ponting had landed another coaching gig with USA's Major League Cricket franchise, Washington Freedom, taking over from Greg Sheppard.

India's history with foreign coaches

But while T20 and franchise cricket is something Ponting has shown interest in, the same cannot be said about his commitment to proper cricketing nations. The last time an ex-Australian cricketer coached the Indian team, Indian cricket endured one of its lowest phases. Under Greg Chappell, while India created a record of winning 17 matches in a row chasing down targets, they crashed out of the 2007 World Cup in the group stage itself. Couple that with his fallout with players, and it could easily be considered the board's worst decision in picking a coach. It's not something Indian cricket can risk, with several high-profile tournaments such as the Champions Trophy and World Test Championship in 2025, the T20 World Cup in 2026 and the all-important 50-over World Cup in 2027.

But while Chappell's tenure did not leave India with fond memories, the ones before and after him did their fair bit to take Indian cricket to great heights. John Wright took over the coaching reigns of the team from 2000 to 2005, during which Team India played some of its boldest and most aspiring cricket, winning the Natwest Trophy, registering Test and ODI series wins in Pakistan, drawing a Test series in Australia and reaching the final of the 2003 World Cup.

Post Chappell, India banked on Gary Kirsten, and under him, India not only reached the pinnacle of the ICC Test rankings for the first time but also lifted the World Cup after 28 years. In Ponting's case, the language barrier is not supposed to be a problem, as he has already found a way to work it out with players at Delhi Capitals. But since 'time' is what's stopping Ponting from taking up the gig, the BCCI will have its work cut out in finding a suitable replacement for Dravid.

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