Former India captain Rahul Dravid, who has been silently working behind the scenes to build Indian cricket's supply line, may have finally made up his mind to come to the forefront and become head coach of the India cricket team. A meeting between Dravid and leading BCCI officials in Dubai went well on Thursday so if all goes according to plan, the application and interview process that will follow may become a procedural formality.
"We will be bringing out the advertisements for the head coach very soon. I think we have been able to convince Rahul that he should now move forward to work actively with the Indian national team," a BCCI official said. If Dravid agrees, he will take over the mantle from Ravi Shastri after the end of the October-November T20 World Cup for a two-year term.
Dravid has been BCCI's first choice as head coach for many years. Before Anil Kumble got the job in 2016, and Ravi Shastri came back in 2017, Dravid could have got the job if he wanted. But he politely refused and continued working on the India A and U-19 teams and at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
Although it may appear to be a late change of heart from Dravid, it is learnt that the BCCI had never given up on the former India captain. Dravid had been involved in talks with the BCCI since July, from the time he went to Sri Lanka as coach of India's white-ball team. Around the same time, Virat Kohli's workload as captain was also being actively discussed by the BCCI. Back then, Dravid hadn't given a straight 'Yes' or 'No' to becoming full-time coach. "There are a lot of challenges doing full time roles, so I really don't know," Dravid had said in a post-series conference from Sri Lanka. "I am enjoying what I am doing."
While Dravid was enjoying working at the NCA from his home in Bangalore, his tenure had come to an end. He did apply for an extension and internally the board had agreed for him to continue, but his reappointment was never made public. "The offer was always there for him to come in as the coach," the official said. In fact, during negotiations for the NCA job, BCCI also conveyed to Dravid that his services could be used for the India team on a case-to-case basis.
Meanwhile, BCCI continued to hunt for other options. The two overseas coaches who were considered, Mahela Jayawardene and Ricky Ponting, were happy doing their two-month IPL stints. Unable to find a suitable candidate of stature, BCCI turned to Dravid again and it finally appears he has agreed to come on board.
The next two years in international cricket will be packed with big ticket events in each format – the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia, the 2023 ODI World Cup at home and the 2023 World Test Championship final.