A day after Indian head coach Rahul Dravid tested positive for COVID-19, National Cricket Academy (NCA) head VVS Laxman was asked to join the Indian contingent as the interim head coach for the 2022 Asia Cup. The availability of Dravid for the Asia Cup seems doubtful as he tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday. He hasn’t even accompanied the players during the Zimbabwe tour for the three-match ODI series, that concluded on Monday. Laxman was the coach of the team in Zimbabwe.
BCCI’s statement regarding the same read: “Mr VVS Laxman, Head Cricket, NCA will be the interim Head Coach for Team India (Senior Men) for the upcoming ACC Asia Cup 2022, to be played in the UAE. Mr Laxman, who travelled with the Indian team that played the ODI series in Zimbabwe will oversee the team’s preparation in the absence of Mr Rahul Dravid, who tested positive for COVID-19 before the team’s departure to the UAE.”
The BCCI further added that there is a possibility of Eahul Dravid joining the team later on, if he tests negative for COVID-19. The report stated, “Mr Dravid will join the team once he tests negative and is cleared by the BCCI Medical Team. Mr Laxman has linked up with the squad in Dubai along with vice-captain Mr KL Rahul, Mr Deepak Hooda and Mr Avesh Khan, who travelled from Harare.”
The men in blue are scheduled to lock horns with Pakistan in their tournament’s opening game on August 28 in Dubai. Rohit Sharma will lead the team for the Asia Cup, while former captain Virat Kohli is returning to competitive cricket after a break. However, India will be missing their premier pacer Jasprit Bumrah due to an injury.
Three specialist spinners are part of the squad which includes Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Ravi Bishnoi. Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja are the two all-rounders. Deepak Hooda and Suryakumar Yadav are the two batting options for the middle-order.
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In Bumrah’s absence, the pace attack will be led by the experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar with youngsters Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh rounding up the squad. Death overs specialist Harshal Patel has also been ruled out due to injury. Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar have been named as standbys.
India’s squad for Asia Cup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan