Head coach Rahul Dravid has joined India’s Asia Cup tour party in Dubai after returning a negative result for Covid-19. He will take over the reins of the team from VVS Laxman, who had stepped in to oversee the preparatory phase of India’s campaign in Dravid’s absence.
Dravid will be in the Indian dugout on Sunday when their play their Asia Cup opener against Pakistan in Dubai, while National Cricket Academy director Laxman is expected to leave for Bengaluru, where he will link up with the India A squad that is training for their series of three four-day matches against New Zealand A, starting September 1.
Laxman had travelled to Dubai from Harare, where he was the coach of an under-strength Indian side led by KL Rahul, as Dravid took a break. India beat Zimbabwe 3-0 then. He was earlier also part of the coaching set-up for the short tour of Ireland and the first T20I in England, when the red-ball squad was preparing for the final Test against England at Edgbaston. Laxman was scheduled to return to India following the Zimbabwe tour but was asked to take charge after Dravid “experienced mild Covid symptoms” last week.
The Indian players assembled in Dubai on August 23 and began training a day later. They held three days of rigorous training, with emphasis on skills, before having an optional session on Saturday, the eve of their game against Pakistan.
India will also play Hong Kong in the group phase, with the top-two teams from the two groups securing entry into the Super Fours stage, where each team will play the others three sides. After the Asia Cup, India will play Australia and South Africa at home before their T20 World Cup opener, also against Pakistan, on October 23.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo