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BCCI sounds out CSK head coach Stephen Fleming to succeed Rahul Dravid

  • May 15, 2024
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Five IPL titles, record of improving players and creating a healthy team environment impresses board bigwigs, but hectic schedule may dissuade Kiwi stalwart.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is contemplating the possibility of former New Zealand captain and current Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming as a prospective successor to Rahul Dravid. However, with the BCCI's stipulation that the new head coach will oversee all three formats, it remains uncertain whether Fleming will indeed pursue the role, which would entail a commitment of 10 months per year with the team.

The BCCI officially initiated the process to appoint a new head coach for the Indian men's team following the T20 World Cup. According to reliable sources within the board, Fleming, who has been at the helm of CSK since 2009, is being viewed as a suitable candidate to take over from Dravid. India is expected to undergo a period of transition across all formats in the coming years, and Fleming's adeptness in man-management, his knack for fostering a positive environment to bring out the best in players, and his commendable success rate with CSK are seen as significant assets.

Informal discussions have reportedly occurred during the course of the IPL. Currently, the 51-year-old has not indicated any desire to depart from CSK, with whom the management prefers him to extend his tenure.

Since assuming the role of head coach at CSK in 2009, Fleming has become a widely sought-after T20 coach across the globe. He has coached the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League for four years and is also the head coach of Joburg Super Kings in SA20 and Texas Super Kings in Major League Cricket—both affiliated with CSK. Additionally, he serves as the head coach of Southern Brave in The Hundred. Fleming is expected to have a hectic schedule in July, with MLC and The Hundred coinciding for a week.

The BCCI's consideration of Fleming comes as no surprise, given the widespread admiration for his contributions. Internally, there is a high regard for Fleming, who has played a pivotal role in CSK's success story. As the longest-serving coach in the IPL, he has guided CSK to five titles and two Champions League trophies. His ability to bring out the best in players, exemplified by instances like Shivam Dube's development, is noteworthy. Moreover, his leadership program has proven beneficial for numerous Indian domestic players.

It is understood that India’s senior players also prefer having a coach with such pedigree and strong technical knowledge, as it would help the next generation of players who are expected to form the core of the team over the next three years.

If the BCCI is not able to lure Fleming, it would be interesting to see where it goes next. Despite England, Pakistan and South Africa splitting their coaching roles between red-ball and white-ball cricket, the BCCI is still hesitant to go for a similar approach as India doesn’t have two different sets of players for Tests and limited-overs formats.

The Indian Express understands that apart from Fleming, other overseas coaches involved with IPL teams are also reluctant to take up the India job as it demands them to be on road for 10 months in a year. Even Dravid has been granted breaks from time and time, with the former India captain often skipping some white-ball series.

Dravid, who was given a six-month extension post the 50-over World Cup in October-November, has his contract expiring after the T20 World Cup next month. The former India captain has the option of re-applying for the post.

Key parameters

  • The Coach will be responsible for developing a world-class cricket team which delivers sustained success in all conditions and formats, inspiring current and future generations of cricketers and stakeholders with their approach to the game.
  • The Head Coach will have overall responsibility for the performance and management of the India Men’s team in all three formats of the game.
  • The Head Coach will lead a team of specialist coaches and support staff and will be responsible for defining their roles, performance and ongoing development.
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