Former India batter VVS Laxman
has accepted the BCCI offer to take charge as director of cricket at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru starting mid-December. ESPNcricinfo has learned that Laxman accepted the NCA position over the weekend. He has also informed Sunrisers Hyderabad of his decision to quit as mentor, a role he took on in 2013.
While the BCCI is yet to announce details of Laxman’s appointment and tenure, this will be the first time Laxman occupies a position, an influential one, in Indian cricket.
In terms of coaching experience, Laxman, 47, was also a batting consultant for six years at Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), which had roped him for the ‘Vision 2020’ program aimed at tapping and promoting grassroot talent in Bengal. That role was facilitated by former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly
, who was CAB’s joint secretary in 2014.
Ganguly has been once again at the forefront, this time as BCCI president, in Laxman’s NCA appointment. Laxman became the frontrunner
for the NCA lead position which vacated by his former Indian captain and teammate Rahul Dravid, who recently took charge as India men’s team head coach until 2023 World Cup.
As a NCA director, Laxman’s primary job will be to create roadmap and pathways for both men’s and women’s teams in both senior and junior age groups. Laxman will also get the freedom to work in coordination with the selectors to pick and manage India A and Under 19 teams including the appointment of the coaching staff.
Fortunately for Laxman, he takes charge of a well-established structure set up by Dravid, who put in place education and skill-based programmes not just for the players but also for former players aspiring to be coaches.
For support Laxman will have a band of coaches – batting, bowling, fielding – working alongside him, but the BCCI is yet to announce the names despite having conducted interviews recently for various positions.
Meanwhile, the BCCI has appointed former Saurashtra captain Sitanshu Kotak
as the head-cum-batting coach for India A during their tour of South Africa, which will act as a shadow tour for senior Indian team’s tour in December-January.
Former Mumbai and India legspinner Sairaj Bahutule
will be the India A bowling coach with Shubadeep Ghosh as fielding coach. India A, who will be lead by Gujarat opener Priyank Panchal, play three four-day Tests in Bloemfontein from November 23.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo