Asian Cup 2022 | Rahul Dravid doubts after testing positive for COVID-19

Rahul Dravid has become the latest casualty of the COVID-19 outbreak, putting his plans to travel to the UAE for the upcoming Asian Cup in serious doubt. After serving as India’s head coach in Zimbabwe, it remains to be seen if VVS Laxman will be called up to the national team again.

India have been dealt a blow less than a week before their first game in the next Asian Cup after it was confirmed that the head coach Rahul Dravid has been infected with the novel coronavirus. The former cricketer was due to travel to the United Arab Emirates for the multinational tournament on Tuesday with the rest of the Indian contingent, to prepare for their opener against Pakistan on August 28 at the Dubai International Stadium.

“Indian head coach Rahul Dravid tested positive for COVID-19 and not traveling for Asian Cup in Dubai”, BCCI sources told the PTI news agency on Tuesday.

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Dravid had missed the recently concluded three-game ODI series in Zimbabwe given the tour’s proximity to the event in the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, only two players from the T20I squad were present during the Africa tour, giving batting coach Vikram Rathour and bowling coach Paras Mhambrey a break. In their absence, the head of the National Cricket Academy VVS Laxman was given the role of caretaker coach and the decorated Indian batsman delivered brilliantly, helping the team register a clean sweep.

It’s likely that Laxman will be asked again to replace Dravid given that there are no other clear options at the moment, especially as the tournament starts in just four days. However, no communication to this effect has been relayed to date by the BCCI.

The Men in Blue team led by Rohit Sharma have been placed in a pool alongside arch-rivals Pakistan in the ACC competition, while Kuwait, Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates will join them in the battle for the Super Fours.

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