In cricket, the success of a team is largely dependent on its head coach. This coach helps select the starting lineup in addition to creating the team’s game plans and strategy. The head coach is also in charge of maintaining team morale and fostering a positive team atmosphere.
In the archives of Indian cricket history, the role of coaching has developed substantially. Back in the day, India didn’t have designated coaches but instead depended on team managers who traveled along with the squad. Notably, in 1971, Keki Tarapore was broadly recognized as the first Indian national cricket team coach. This marked a vital shift and over the ensuing decade, past cricketers mainly became coaches of the Indian cricket team.
It wasn’t until 1992 that long-term coaching contracts supplemented the former tour-wise managerial roles. All through the 1990s, noteworthy names such as Madan Lal, Anshuman Gaekwad, and the iconic Kapil Dev were all a part of the Indian cricket coach list.
In the year 2000, John Wright ushered in a modern era as India’s first foreign coach, guiding the team through challenging times following the match-fixing scandal. Wright’s partnership with Captain Sourav Ganguly renewed Indian cricket, nurturing talents such as Yuvraj Single, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and others. Together, they managed to secure remarkable test series triumphs and a World Cup final appearance back in 2003. Indian cricket team coaches since 2000 have all added to the success of the side.
Over time, the Indian team has seen multiple foreign coaches, with John Wright enjoying the lengthiest tenure (2000-2005). The era of Greg Chappell ensured but was marked by a somewhat troublesome relationship with the then-skipper Sourav Ganguly.
This far there have been a sum of 24 chief coaches of the Indian Cricket team in the past. Check out the complete list.
List of the Chief Coaches of the Indian Cricket Team
|1971 – 1974
|1980 – 1981
|1983 – 1987
|PR Man Singh
|1988 – 1989 & 2007
|1990 – 1991
|Bishen Singh Bedi
|1991 – 1992
|Abbas Ali Baig
|1992 – 1996
|1996 – 1997
|1997 – 1999
|1999 — 2000
|2000 – 2005
|2005 – 2007
|2007, 2015, 2017 – 2021
|2007 – 2008
|2008 – 2011
|2011 – 2015
|Sanjay Bangar (Interim)
|2016 – 2017
In earlier times, India didn’t have a full-time coach for their cricket team. Instead, they had a manager who used to travel with the squad. In 1971, Keki Tarapore was assigned as the manager and is broadly recognized as India’s first coach ghostwriter. He held the position for a year before he was succeeded by Hemu Adhikari, a cricketer as well as an army officer.
During the ensuing decade, the role of the coach underwent multiple switches, frequently filled by preceding cricketers. One prominent example was when PR Man Singh, an earlier First-Class cricket, served as the manager when India attained a historic triumph in the first-ever Cricket World Cup held in 1983. Singh played an important role behind the scenes as the team’s manager during their victorious campaign.
Pioneer Indian Cricket Coach – Keki Tarapore
Keki Tarapore, a cricketer hailing from Karnataka, is recognized for his coaching capabilities rather than his playing career, which was underlined by an individual Ranji Trophy match. Nonetheless, Tarapore earned significant respect among Indian cricketers for this coaching flair. In 1971, he shouldered the role of team manager for the national cricket team and is broadly recognized as the inaugural coach in the annals of cricket history of India.
Architect of India’s Maiden ICC World Cup Triumph – PR Man Singh
PR Man Singh, although not mainly a coach but a team manager, engraved his name in history by leading Team India to its very first ICC World Cup title. Over 12 years following Tarapore’s coaching time, there was a prominent transformation in the cricketing landscape. The Indian cricket team began to mainly elect earlier players and considered granting extended tenures to the team managers. PR Singh stayed at the helm as the team manager from 1983 till 1987.
By 1992, the Indian team adopted a policy of providing lengthy contacts to national team coaches instead of nominating them on a tour-to-tour basis. During the interim interval, figures such as Bishan Singh Bedi and Chandu Borde served as managers. This new policy paved the way for an ear of national team coaches with lengthened tenures, which include masters such as Sandeep Patil, Ajit Wadekar, and others.
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India’s Coach in the 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup – Ajit Wadekar
Apart from Mohammed Azharuddin, former Indian cricket player Ajit Wadekar led India during the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Wadekar held the position of captain from 1992 to 1996. In addition to being a coach, Test player, captain, team manager, and chairman of selectors, Wadekar is still one of the very few coaches for the Indian national cricket team. Included on this limited roster are Chandu Borde and Lala Amarnath.
Leading Team India Head Coaches from the Last Decade
Kapil Dev (1999 – 2000)
After Anshuman Gaekwad’s dismissal in 1999, Kapil Dev became the coach of the Indian cricket team. Regarded as one of the most distinguished all-rounders in the history of the sport, Dev guided the Indian squad to its inaugural Cricket World Cup victory in 1983. He wasn’t quite as effective as people had hoped during his tenure as coach, though.
During that period, India’s solitary Test victory came against New Zealand at home. Moreover, the team lost an incredible series that included 2-0 home and 3-0 away losses against the South African team in Australia.
John Wright (2000 – 2005)
John Wright, a previous New Zealand cricketer, served as the lead coach of the Indian team from the period of 2000 to 2005. His election marked the first time a foreign coach was chosen to pilot the Indian team.
Wright was instrumental in changing the Indian team’s performance throughout his stay. At the beginning of the 2000s, he formed an effective alliance with former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly. Among the most notable accomplishments during this time frame were India’s momentous victory over Australia in the Test series in 2001, as well as their impressive triumphs in the Test matches held in Australia and England and their advancement to the Cricket World Cup 2003 final.
Under Wright’s direction, India achieved yet another noteworthy achievement in 2004 when, on their well-known tour of Pakistan, they emerged victorious in a Test series. Nevertheless, Greg Chappell took over as the Indian team’s head coach in 2005, replacing Wright.
Greg Chappell (2005 – 2007)
Prior Australian cricketer Greg Chappell served as the lead coach of the Indian cricket team from the duration of 2005 to 2007. His tenure as the coach was marked by both prominent controversies and achievements.
India won a couple of important matches during his coaching tenure. They achieved their first-ever Test victory in South Africa, defeated Pakistan 4-1 in an ODI series played at home and triumphed in a test series in the West Indies following a protracted 35-year suspension.
Internal strife and scandals, meanwhile, marred his presidency as well. Media coverage of the team’s deficiencies was extensive, and there were rumored arguments with senior players—among them Sourav Ganguly. Finally, Greg Chappell was fired as the team coach of India following their underwhelming performance in the 2007 World Cup, where they were eliminated in the group stages.
Ravi Shastri ( 2007, 2015, 2017 – 2021)
Shastri was the head coach of Team India for multiple periods before his role in Indian cricket. The first one took place back in 2007, the second one followed in 2015, and the third and most significant one ran from 2017 to 2021.
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli together formed a powerful coach-captain combo. Team India performed admirably during this period and topped the Test rankings for an interesting forty-two-month span from 2016 to 2020.
Under his coaching, the team excelled in all competitions. In India’s test cricket matches, 58.10% resulted in wins. The team’s One-Day International winning percentage is 67.1%, but its Twenty20 match winning percentage was 69.20%.
The squad won the 2018 Asia Cup after heeding this advice. India also won a Test series against Australia on Australian soil three times. They also accomplished the ICC World Test Championship.
Gary Kirsten ( 2008 – 2011)
From 2008 until 2011, Gary Kirsten led the Indian team as its head coach. Former cricket player Kirsten from South Africa was instrumental in turning the Indian squad into a highly successful unit.
India became the most successful team for the very first time under his tenure, reaching the pinnacle of Test cricket history. Many notable Test series were won by India under his leadership, particularly an important series victory in Australia in 2008. A noteworthy achievement for Indian cricket, the team also performed well in One-Day Internationals and won the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. It had been 28 years since India had won a World Cup.
His impact on Indian cricket continues to this day, despite Kirsten’s departure as coach following the 2011 World Cup. Several talented athletes reached their professional apex under his guidance.
Anil Kumble (2016 – 2017)
The Indian cricket squad was coached by Anil Kumble from 2016 to 2017. Together with a few more accomplishments, he guided India to the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy finals. He was rumored to have had disagreements with a few players during his stint, most notably Virat Kohli, who was captain at the time. After the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, he ultimately tendered his resignation as head coach as an outcome.
Rahul Dravid (2019 – Present)
The squad’s head coach following Shastri’s departure in 2014 was none other than Rahul Dravid, one of the most respected cricket players in India and a former captain of the national side. Currently serving as the national team’s coach, Dravid previously coached the India A and under-19 teams from 2016 to 2019.
With Gary Kirsten taking over as the team’s coach, Indian cricket in the twenty-first century reached a crescendo. During his direction, India became the best Test squad and became victorious in the World Cup 2011. Individuals including Anil Kumble, Ravi Shastri, and Duncan Fletcher are on the coaching staff of the Indian cricket squad. With 2 stints, Shastri is the longest-serving Indian coach in history. Ashok Mankad is the only other coach to have maintained senior coaching roles in cricket for several terms.
Under Shastri’s leadership, India enjoyed remarkable success in international Test matches, including important victories in England and Australia, but the illusive World Cup title remained just out of reach. Reflecting the sport’s remarkable history and continuous pursuit of perfection is the dynamic coaching staff of the Indian national cricket team.