Rahul Dravid is likely to tour Sri Lanka in July as the head coach of India’s limited-overs squads, ESPNcricinfo has learned.
The BCCI is yet to make the formal announcement but Dravid is expected to tour Sri Lanka in the absence of head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and batting coach Vikram Rathour, who will all be with the Test squad in the UK from early June to late September for the WTC final and the five Tests against England.
India are scheduled to tour Sri Lanka for three ODIs and as many T20Is from July 13 to 27 with a second-string squad because 20 of India’s top players and four standbys will be in England at the time. Having coached several India A and Under-19 sides over the last few years, Dravid will already be familiar with numerous India players who are likely to be picked for the Sri Lanka tour.
Dravid is currently the head of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru and the other NCA staff members are likely to be split into two parties of which one will tour Sri Lanka with Dravid and the other will travel to England with the India Women’s squad next month. ESPNcricinfo has learned that former India quick Paras Mhambrey, who has also coached the men’s A sides and Under-19 teams, is the leading candidate to tour Sri Lanka as the bowling coach of the men’s limited-overs sides.
Dravid has played a major role in moulding the younger members of the India sides who trained under him at the A and Under-19 levels and have gone on to win international matches. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had also praised his former team-mate for doing a “great job at the NCA” for looking after the second-string players. Dravid moved from being head coach of the A and Under-19 sides to the director of cricket at the NCA in 2019.
According to a proposed itinerary from SLC, India will play the three ODIs on July 13, 16 and 19 and the T20Is on July 22, 24 and 27. India’s white-ball squad is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka on July 5, according to the preliminary itinerary.
They will serve a week-long quarantine beginning with three days of hard quarantine in hotel rooms followed by four days of training but with movement strictly restricted between the hotel and the grounds. They will then fly back to India on July 28.
To keep the safety of the teams’ bubbles intact, the matches are likely to be played without crowds. The Sooriyawewa ground near Hambantota and the stadium in Dambulla are the frontrunners to host the matches.
India last toured Sri Lanka in 2018 for the Nidahas T20 tri-series and in 2017 for a bilateral all-format tour. (Courtesy ESPN Cricinfo)