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Watch | If he has applied, Gambhir would be good coach for India: Ganguly

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Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Saturday said Gautam Gambhir would be a “good coach” for the national cricket team if he has applied for the job as his “hunger and passion” was evident in the recently-concluded IPL.

Speaking at an event in Mumbai, Ganguly also gave his views on India’s chances in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

The former BCCI President said he is in favour of the national team having an Indian coach since there is enough talent in the country.

“I am in favour of an Indian coach because we have enormous talent in our country, enormously high-skilled players who have done wonders for Indian cricket and very rightfully they should be a part of the system,” Ganguly said.

On whether the widely perceived front-runner Gambhir would be suitable for the position, Ganguly had a query of his own at first.

“…has he applied? I really don’t know because first he has to apply and then only he will get the job…I think (May) 27th was the last date of application,” Ganguly said.

“Obviously, BCCI has the right to extend it (the deadline) as well. If he applies and if he wants it, and I say if he applies and if he wants it, he will be a very good candidate,” he said.

The 51-year-old said Gambhir’s winning attitude as IPL champion Kolkata Knight Riders’ mentor was there for all to see this year.

“If Gambhir applies — you can see it on TV — he worked for KKR this year. I was with Delhi (Capitals), you can see the hunger, the passion and the want to win and I will be happy if he applies and if the board decides to give him the job, I think he is a good candidate,” Ganguly said.

India’s head coach position will fall vacant after Rahul Dravid steps down at the end of the team’s T20 World Cup campaign in the Americas.

A few days ago, BCCI secretary Jay Shah also hinted that an Indian coach would be preferred.

“We are focused on identifying individuals who possess a deep understanding of the Indian cricket structure and have risen through the ranks,” Shah had said.

India strong contenders for T20WC

Ganguly also said India’s chances are “very good” in the T20 World Cup but the team should play with “freedom”. The event, to be jointly hosted by the USA and the West Indies, gets underway on Saturday.

“…play without fear and just keep hitting. There is enormous talent, (this is) a team which has (Virat) Kohli, Rohit (Sharma), Surya (Suryakumar Yadav), (Rishabh) Pant, (Shivam) Dubey, (Hardik) Pandya, (Ravindra) Jadeja, Axar (Patel), (Jasprit) Bumrah, Sanju (Samson),” he said when asked about India’s chances.

“That’s why I say everyone is capable of winning it for India and the only way they will do it is (if they) just play with freedom.

“Play with that extra batsman and hit from the first ball, hit till you have to defend (and) play like the last ball,” he added.

Ganguly backed the pair of Rohit and Kohli to open for India.

“It is Virat and Rohit, both should open. Virat has been in tremendous touch in the IPL, he is a great player,” he said.

The former opener said the drop-in pitches brought from Adelaide in the USA leg of the World Cup should be batting-friendly.

“I am very keen to see how the conditions are in the US. (The Nassau County Cricket Stadium is a) new ground, new stadium. I know there have been drop in pitches from Adelaide.

“The ICC has spent a lot of money to bring in the drop-in pitches to America,” he said.

“(The) drop-in pitches are normally very good, very batting friendly. And they don’t change much over a period of time because they are different from natural pitches. So we are expecting the pitches to be very good,” he added.

Ganguly said India are superior to Pakistan but the arch-rivals will pose a tough challenge in the T20 format when the two sides clash on June 9.

“Our record against Pakistan has been very, very good over a long period of time. In the T20 format, probably Pakistan is more dangerous compared to 50-overs (format). We beat them in Ahmedabad when they came to India and we beat them easily.

“India is superior and if they play well, if they play freely and I keep saying the word ‘freely’ all the time because (in) the last World Cup in Australia, I don’t think we played freely,” he said.

“Just put all the cobwebs behind. Don’t worry about winning or losing. Don’t think about winning the World Cup. Just go and play every game,” he added.

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