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'He plays to win': Childhood coach Bharadwaj on Gautam Gambhir's role as India's head coach

Updated on: 10 July,2024 02:02 PM IST  |  New Delhi
mid-day online correspondent |

Gambhir replaced Rahul Dravid, whose tenure ended with the country's title win in the T20 World Cup in Barbados last month

'He plays to win': Childhood coach Bharadwaj on Gautam Gambhir's role as India's head coach

Gautam Gambhir (Pic: AFP)

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Newly-appointed Team India head coach Gautam Gambhir has the ability to derive the best out of players when the chips are down, and his affinity to take up challenges head on can make winning a habit for the national team, feels his childhood coach Sanjay Bharadwaj.


Gambhir, the World Cup-winning former opener, was given the reins of the India team on Tuesday. He replaced former Team India head coach Rahul Dravid, whose tenure ended with the country's title win in the T20 World Cup in Barbados last month.


"Gautam has the quality to bring the best out of his players. The job of a top coach is precisely that. Gauti knows his players well and can bring the best out of them, using them effectively.


"I feel, as a coach, he has the capability to take India to the pinnacle. He can do the job honestly without any bias and bring the best to Indian cricket. The (ODI) World Cup title which has eluded us for the last 13 years would now start coming," Bhardwaj told PTI Videos on Wednesday.

Bharadwaj, who has also produced cricketers such as Amit Mishra, Unmukt Chand and Nitish Rana besides several Ranji players from Delhi, added that Gambhir has the ability to take up any challenge and succeed in his endeavour.

"He always played with a challenge. Since he was 10, he had the winner's mentality. He always played to win. He never thought that he could lose a match. He was never in doubt.

"Gauti always had a sharp and astute observation power. Gautam has the ability to take up any challenge and then succeed in it," the veteran coach said about Gambhir, who played a crucial role in India lifting the ODI World Cup in 2011 under Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Also Read: Gambhir ascends to cricket's ivory tower, vows to banish no-balls with his glare

Bharadwaj added that Gambhir had predicted Rohit Sharma's resurgence when the India captain was going through a lean patch in his early days.

"He has played with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the past. Long back, he had once given his 'Man of the Match' to Virat. That shows his golden heart. He told me long back that Rohit Sharma will become a great player one day. This was when Rohit was not among the runs and needed some encouragement. His observation about Rohit proved accurate," he said.

Bharadwaj added that Gambhir would always stick to his decision if he feels it is right.

"If Gautam ever feels that something is right for the team, he will be firm on that decision. Gautam plays to win. He knows what to do and focusses on having a set team combination. He doesn't believe in favouritism; the only thing that is his favourite is cricket."

Bharadwaj said Gambhir went by instincts and backed Kuldeep Yadav and Navdeep Saini, the two key players for KKR in IPL 2024.

"He could pick players like Kuldeep Yadav and Navdeep Saini (in the India team setup). They are his product. He also followed his instincts on West Indian all-rounder Sunil Narine (during IPL 2024). His observation and cricketing acumen were always outstanding," he added.

Gambhir has been a part of two successful World Cup campaigns -- in T20 World Cup in 2007 and in ODI World Cup in 2011 --, and Bharadwaj's advice to his ward is, "be honest in your approach".

"With his batting, he won two World Cups for India in 2007 and 2011. As a player, you helped India win two World Cups, then propelled KKR to three IPL titles. You have a habit of taking up challenges and conquering them; be honest in your approach and repay the country's faith in you," he said.

(With agency inputs)

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