NEW DELHI: Rahul Dravid will stay on as coach of India, the country’s cricket board said on Wednesday, having led the hosts to the final of the World Cup earlier this month.

It was “unanimously agreed to further the tenure” of the 50-year-old former skipper, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said in a statement.

“The board acknowledges Mr. Dravid’s instrumental role in moulding the Indian team and commends his exceptional professionalism,” it said.

Dravid’s contract had expired after the World Cup, which ended on November 19 with India’s defeat to Australia. Dravid was appointed in November 2021 for a two-year period.

“The last two years with team India have been thoroughly memorable,” said Dravid. “Together we have witnessed the highs and lows, and throughout this journey, the support and camaraderie within the group have been phenomenal.

“I am genuinely proud of the culture we have set in the dressing room.”

His team of support staff, including batting coach Vikram Rathour and bowling coach Paras Mhambrey, have also been retained.

The BCCI did not say how long the new term would be, with India now eyeing the Twenty20 World Cup in June next year as they attempt to break their painful drought in global tournaments.

“Mr. Rahul Dravid’s vision, professionalism and unyielding efforts have been important pillars in team India’s success,” Roger Binny, president of the BCCI, said. “As head coach of the Indian cricket team you are always under immense scrutiny and I extend appreciation to him not only for embracing the challenges but for thriving in them.”

India, captained by Rohit Sharma, remained unbeaten in 10 matches coming into the World Cup final in Ahmedabad. But they lost by six wickets to an Australia side who extended their record of World Cup titles to six.

India last won a global title with the 2013 Champions Trophy and their last World Cup triumph came in 2011 at home. Dravid, nicknamed “The Wall” or “Mr. Dependable” for his classic batting and rock-solid defence, is expected to lead the team on their tour of South Africa next month.

Before retiring as a player in 2012, Dravid scored 13,288 runs in 164 Tests, second only to the legendary Sachin Tendulkar for India and fourth overall in the world rankings. Dravid and almost all his World Cup players took a break after the tournament.

Suryakumar Yadav is captaining a second-string India against Australia in a five-match T20 series. Former batsman VVS Laxman is coaching the team, which leads the series 2-1. Laxman has stood in whenever Dravid takes a break.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2023

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