Laxman, Kanitkar to coach India’s men’s and women’s teams at Asian Games


VVS Laxman and Hrishikesh Kanitkar will travel as the head coaches for India’s men’s and women’s teams respectively to the 2023 Asian Games, which will be played in Hangzhou in China. Sairaj Bahutule will be the bowling coach for the men, while Munish Bali will be their fielding coach. For the women’s team, Rajib Dutta will be the bowling coach and Subhadeep Ghosh the fielding coach.

Both teams will enter the competition at the quarter-final stage. As per the latest schedule, the India men’s quarter-final match is on October 3 with the semis likely on October 5, if they qualify. The final is scheduled for October 7. The India women’s team’s quarter-final is scheduled for September 21, with their potential semi-final on September 23 and final on September 25. The games will be played at the Zhejiang University of Technology’s (ZJUT) Pingfeng campus cricket ground.

Laxman, who is the head of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, has previously too stepped in as head coach on men’s tours when Rahul Dravid has been rested – as was the case recently for the T20I series in Ireland. The India men’s unit at the Asian Games will be a second-string squad, led by Ruturaj Gaikwad, with the main squad preparing to play the World Cup that begins on October 5.

Kanitkar oversaw the women’s team for the home T20I series against Australia in December last year and then the tri-series in South Africa followed by the T20 World Cup earlier this year. The women’s team has been without a permanent head coach since December last year, when Romesh Powar was moved to the NCA. Former India bowler Nooshin Al Khadeer was appointed interim head coach for the women’s team’s last assignment – a white-ball tour of Bangladesh. The BCCI’s cricket advisory committee had conducted interviews for the women’s head coach position with three shortlisted names, but there has been no update on any appointment.

In the men’s squad, there are doubts about Tilak Varma’s availability, as he could be asked to stay on in India on standby for the World Cup, given Shreyas Iyer had suffered back spasms just before the Super Four clash against Pakistan in the Asia Cup on Sunday.

The women’s team will be led by Smriti Mandhana to start with. If India do make it to the semi-finals, Harmanpreet Kaur, who had been handed a two-match international ban for disciplinary issues, will return to lead in the final or the third-place playoff.

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