VVS Laxman has joined the Indian cricket team in Dubai ahead of the Asia Cup as interim head coach in the absence of Rahul Dravid, who is currently down with COVID-19.
“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. Mr Dravid will join the team once he tests negative and is cleared by the BCCI medical team,” the BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.
Laxman, who was in-charge of India’s ODI team in Zimbabwe, has joined the camp in the United Arab Emirates, along with KL Rahul, Deepak Hooda and Avesh Khan - who were also part of the Zimbabwe tour.
On Tuesday, Sportstar had reported that the BCCI’s logistics team was taking all the efforts to get Laxman’s visa and other paperwork done so that he could reach UAE at the earliest.
“The Board is still monitoring Dravid’s health and we are still hopeful that he can join the team at a later stage,” a Board insider said, indicating that the India head coach has mild symptoms and he is expected to take another RT-PCR test in a day or two.
The team is scheduled to have its first training session in Dubai on Wednesday evening under the watchful eyes of Laxman. Till the time there is clarity on Dravid’s availability, Laxman will lead on the coaching front, along with bowling coach Paras Mhambrey and batting coach Vikram Rathour. They will coordinate with Dravid regularly via video conferencing.
In Dravid’s absence, Laxman’s presence will be a boost for the Indian team ahead of the big-ticket event since the former India international has been working with the current crop of players regularly and is aware of the plans set by Dravid.
India plays its first game of the Asia Cup on August 28 against Pakistan. It is believed that the top BCCI office-bearers will be in the UAE for the fixture.