INDIA COACHING STAFF

Abhishek Nayar set to join Gambhir's support staff

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Abhishek Nayar has worked with Gambhir at KKR
Abhishek Nayar has worked with Gambhir at KKR © BCCI

Gautam Gambhir's support staff for the India men's team is set to include coaching professionals known for their exemplary work at various levels, including state cricket and the Indian Premier League (IPL) even as plans are being made to retain at least one member of Rahul Dravid's outgoing staff. The selection process for the other two positions is underway, but Abhishek Nayar, an integral part of the Kolkata Knight Riders' backroom team for quite some time, is likely to join Team Gambhir.

It's a no-brainer that Gambhir chose Nayar (40), a former India all-rounder who played three ODIs in 2009. The two have had a strong professional relationship at KKR, and Gambhir was looking for a colleague who is known to be dedicated and serious at his job. Nayar fits the bill there, and has also been closely associated with India skipper Rohit Sharma in the past. The former Mumbai all-rounder is expected to be designated as an assistant coach rather than a specialized batting coach. Gambhir himself may take on the batting coach role.

Sources indicate that T Dilip, who has served as a fielding coach under Dravid, is likely to be retained despite the BCCI's media statement thanking Dravid and his team, which led to interpretations that their services were no longer required.

"The Board also congratulates Mr Paras Mhambrey (Bowling Coach), Mr T. Dilip (Fielding Coach) and Mr Vikram Rathour (Batting Coach) on a highly successful tenure. The BCCI values their contribution and wishes them the best going forward," the BCCI release of June 9, announcing the appointment of Gambhir as head coach, stated. But it has been learnt that Dilip's services, in all likelihood, will be retained.

As for the bowling coach position, nothing has been finalized. Reports have indicated that the BCCI and Gambhir are considering names like Lakshmipathy Balaji and Vinay Kumar, both of whom have worked with Gambhir at KKR in the past. However, the Board may be seeking a higher-profile candidate with a proven track record of working well with young players.

The idea is to build a robust crop of fast bowling bench strength, a strong point of the Indian team in recent times. The thinking is that the new bowling coach has to be able to inspire and mentor the younger crop of pace bowlers, such as Harshit Rana, Tushar Deshpande, and Mayank Yadav, to name a few. While the conversations are underway, the final decision has not been made.

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