India Head Coach Hunt: Will VVS Laxman Replace Rahul Dravid? Latest Update

VVS Laxman has reportedly not yet applied for the head coach post, for which the last date to submit applications is May 27. But when it comes to BCCI secretary Jay Shah's criteria of someone with "deep understanding of Indian cricket structure", Laxman fits the bill

VVS Laxman's stint as the chief of National Cricket Academy is slated to end in September 2024. Photo: File

The hunt for Team India's next coach is on in full swing. With Lucknow Super Giants head coach Justin Langer dropping out of the race and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah clarifying that the board has not approached any former Australian cricketer for the role, the focus is squarely on Indian names. (Full IPL Coverage | More Cricket News)

Gautam Gambhir, who is mentoring Kolkata Knight Riders in Indian Premier League 2024, is tipped by many to be the frontrunner for the India top job. But amid the uncertainty over whether senior players will accept a decision to appoint Gambhir, VVS Laxman's candidature is also up for discussion.

Laxman is known to be reluctant to take charge of the senior men's team, but with his stint as the chief of National Cricket Academy slated to end in September 2024, it remains to be seen if and how BCCI attempts to keep him in the national set-up.

In his statement on Friday (May 24), Shah said the BCCI is looking for someone who has risen through the ranks and possess a deep understanding of the Indian cricket and the domestic structure. To that end, Laxman seems to be the one of the most suitable choices, as the legendary former India batter has been an interim India coach during his three-year tenure at NCA.

But Laxman has reportedly not applied for the post, for which the last date to submit applications is May 27. If Laxman does apply, his strong credentials at the BCCI's high performance centre, where he is the structural head of the pathways cricket system (India A, Emerging, U-19, and junior women's cricket), should bode well.

"It will be completely up to Jay but he has to convince VVS to be a part of the Indian set-up, at least when they play red ball series," a former BCCI office-bearer told PTI. "If he is not willing to work full-time, he can always be the consultant when India play marquee red-ball series in Australia this year and England next year."

PTI reports that it should not be difficult for Laxman to go back to the IPL fold after his NCA stint concludes, as he has a standing offer from at least one franchise. The stylish right-handed batter of yore is an established commentator-cum-analyst too.

"Unlike Rahul (Dravid), who was based out of Bengaluru, Laxman had to shift base from Hyderabad. Not to forget his magnanimity when he agreed to work for a lesser pay package compared to what he was making as mentor of Sunrisers Hyderabad and as an expert with one of the broadcasters.

"So there will be factors but Laxman's services should be utilised properly," the former office-bearer said.

Meanwhile, after Laxman says goodbye to NCA, BCCI would need a sound replacement for the head of cricket post. Current India batting coach Vikram Rathour might fit the bill.

Rathour has been in NCA as batting coach, and was also a national selector for four years. For the last five years, he has been with the national team and his tenure too comes to end with the upcoming T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies.

(With PTI inputs)