Former skipper Dravid named India head coach

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Former Indian cricket captain Rahul Dravid (R) speaks to Malaysian U-16 cricketers during a cricket clinic in Kuala Lumpur June 27, 2012. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

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BENGALURU, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Former India captain and batting stalwart Rahul Dravid has been appointed the head coach of the men's national team to succeed Ravi Shastri, the country's cricket board (BCCI) said in a statement on Wednesday.

Dravid, who played 164 tests and 344 one-dayers between 1996 and 2012 and accumulated more than 10,000 runs in both formats, was previously in charge of India's Under-19 and A teams and is credited for a steady supply of young talent as head of the National Cricket Academy.

"The Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Sulakshana Naik and RP Singh on Wednesday unanimously appointed Rahul Dravid as the Head Coach of Team India (Senior Men)," the BCCI said in a statement.

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Dravid's two-year termcommences with the home series against New Zealand, which begins on Nov. 17. The team will play three Twenty20 internationals and two tests.

The 48-year-old, nicknamed "The Wall" in his playing days for his near-impregnable defence, said it was an "absolute honour".

"I'm really looking forward to this role. Under Shastri, the team has done very well, and I hope to work with the team to take this forward," Dravid said.

"Having worked closely with most of the boys either at NCA, Under-19 and India 'A' setup, I know they have the passion and desire to improve every day.

"There are some marquee multi-team events in the next two years, and I look forward to working with the players and the support staff to achieve our potential."

Shastri, who took up the job in mid-2017, had ruled out seeking an extension after his tenure expires following the T20 World Cup, where India beat Afghanistan on Wednesday to keep alive their slim hopes of reaching the semi-finals.

Under Shastri, India became the first Asian team to win a test series in Australia (2018-19) and triumphed again Down Under in 2020-21.

They climbed to the top of the test rankings and reached the final of this year's inaugural World Test Championship, where they were beaten by New Zealand.

BCCI secretary Jay Shah said there was no better person than Dravid to take the team forward.

"With two World Cups scheduled to take place in the next two years, it is important to have a seamless transition, and the former India captain is the right man for the job," Shah said.

Shah added that the BCCI will soon make appointments of other coaching staff who will support Dravid.

India batsman Rohit Sharma, who is widely backed to take over as T20 captain following Virat Kohli's announcement that he is stepping down after the World Cup, welcomed Dravid's appointment.

"Congratulations to him for coming back but in a different capacity, to the Indian team. We look forward to working with him. He's a stalwart of Indian cricket. It will be nice working with him," Rohit said.

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Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, Editing by Ed Osmond

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