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regular-article-logo Saturday, 15 June 2024

VVS Laxman's NCA stint ends in September, can BCCI retain him in set-up?

Laxman seems to be the most obvious successor given that the stylish former from Hyderabad has been an interim India coach during his nearly three-year stint at NCA

PTI Chennai Published 24.05.24, 04:33 PM
VVS Laxman

VVS Laxman File

VVS Laxman's reluctance to become the Indian team's head coach is an open secret but with the former batting stalwart's stint as NCA's 'Head of Cricket' ending in September this year, it remains to be seen how BCCI manages to retain him in the set-up.

While Kolkata Knight Riders mentor Gautam Gambhir is believed to be the favourite among available options for the BCCI, it is still not clear whether secretary Jay Shah has spoken to the national team's senior stars about Gambhir's unanimous acceptability.

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Shah, in a statement on Friday to deny reaching out to any Australian candidates, also dropped hints that the Board is looking for an Indian coach, who has come through the ranks and knows the cricketing ecosystem inside out.

Laxman seems to be the most obvious successor given that the stylish former from Hyderabad has been an interim India coach during his nearly three-year stint at NCA (National Cricket Academy).

But he hasn't applied for the post which will be both physically and mentally a taxing for next three and half years. The last date to submit applications is May 27.

Should he choose to apply, Laxman would be on strong footing owing to the goodwill he enjoys at the BCCI's High Performance Centre as the structural head of country's pathways cricket system (India A, Emerging, U-19, and junior women's cricket).

The BCCI would also want to hold on to the 49-year-old and perhaps also convince him to agree for the top job.

"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 on conditions of anonymity.

"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." It is understood that it won't be very difficult for Laxman to go back to the IPL fold after his NCA stint ends as he has a standing offer from at least one franchise. He is also an established commentator-cum-analyst.

"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.

Recently, during a media interaction in Mumbai, Shah made it clear that there will be only one head coach for the national team. But there is a school of thought that Laxman's expertise in red-ball cricket could be put to use purely for the format.

By next year, the NCA will be headquartered at its own facility in the outskirts of Bengaluru with multiple full-sized cricket grounds, state of the art gymnasium, swimming pool and also a residential complex.

Once Laxman bids adieu to NCA, BCCI would need a solid candidate for the post of Head of Cricket. One man, who could land the job is current national team batting coach Vikram Rathour.

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 T20 World Cup next month.

His technical knowledge is well-respected and many feel that he is the right man to replace Laxman when the time comes.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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