India head coach Rahul Dravid has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the team's departure for the Asia Cup.
“Team India head coach Rahul Dravid has tested positive for COVID-19 in a routine test conducted ahead of the team’s departure to the UAE for Asia Cup 2022. Dravid is under the supervision of the BCCI Medical team and has mild symptoms. He will join the team once he returns with a negative COVID-19 report,” the BCCI said in a statement.
While the other players have left for Dubai, Dravid was to fly out from Bengaluru on Tuesday. But now, with Dravid testing positive, the Board’s logistics department is trying to ensure that the paperwork and UAE visa process are completed for VVS Laxman, who coached the ODI team in Zimbabwe, in case he needs to join the team in Dubai.
However, a formal decision will be taken after Dravid undertakes another round of COVID test. Depending on the outcome of the test, the Board is expected to take a call on Laxman.
KL Rahul and Deepak Hooda were to join the team in the UAE from Zimbabwe, and it was believed that Laxman could also travel with them. But so far, there is no confirmation on that front. Till the time there is clarity on Laxman's arrival in the UAE, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey and batting coach Vikram Rathour will look after the coaching side of things. They will coordinate with Dravid regularly. The Board officials are hopeful that Dravid might recover in time for the second stage of the tournament.
If Dravid fails to recover in time, Laxman's presence could 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. "It is a developing situation. We are making all necessary arrangements, and once things are finalised, there will be an official update," a Board insider said.
India plays its first game of the Asia Cup on August 28 against Pakistan.