Already without Rahul Dravid, who opted to rest, Team India are now set to travel to Ireland for a three-match T20I series without National Cricket Academy head India coach VVS Laxman, who was expected to step in.
The team, led by Jasprit Bumrah, that is set to depart for Dublin on August 15 will now be coached by former Saurashtra veteran and India A head coach Sitanshu Kotak.
The Men in Blue are currently in the middle of a five-match T20I series against the West Indies. They are currently in the United States of America to feature in the last two matches of the series to be played on Saturday (August 12) and Sunday (August 13).
The current coaching staff comprising head India coach Dravid, batting coach Vikram Rathour and bowling coach Paras Mhambrey will be getting a small break before assembling for the Asia Cup in the last week of August.
Laxman, who had stepped in as a head coach on previous occasions, including the previous Ireland tour when Dravid was busy with the senior team in England, was expected to take over the role again. However, Kotak will be India’s head coach for the three T20Is against Ireland instead.
Who is Sitanshu Kotak, India coach during Ireland T20Is?
Kotak is an Indian retired first-class cricketer who is now working as the batting coach at the NCA. He played for Saurashtra during his career but could never make it to the national team. Kotak played a massive 130 first-class, 89 List A and 9 T20 matches during his illustrious domestic career.
He amassed a massive 8,061 runs in red-ball cricket while scoring 3,083 in List A and 133 runs in the T20 format as well. Overall, he smacked 15 centuries and 55 fifties in first-class cricket and when it comes to 50-over cricket, the veteran hit three tons and 26 fifties.
He was a decent bowler as well picking 70 first-class and 54 List A wickets during his career.
Kotak also previously toured Ireland as a batting coach last year, where Laxman was the head India coach. He was in charge of the India A team for the Bangladesh tour in November last year as well.
Significance of the Ireland tour
The three-match T20I series between India and Ireland is set to be played on August 18, 20 and 23 respectively.
But this series holds much more significance now with India’s lead pacer Bumrah making his comeback to international cricket. He last played in September 2022 in a T20I against Australia due to a recurring back injury. Since then has undergone back surgery as well.
Bumrah’s completing the Ireland tour without much fuss is extremely important from India’s point of view as this series will give them an idea of where he is fitness ahead of the Asia Cup and the World Cup.
The Indian team is already troubled by injuries to key players like KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. In such a situation, Bumrah clearing the match fitness is much-needed for the side.
Moreover, in the absence of the senior and possible Asia Cup-bound players, the selectors have also picked a second-string squad for the Ireland tour, giving chances to IPL performers instead.
In the absence of the recent leadership candidates in T20Is, Bumrah has been named the skipper of the team. Meanwhile, Prasidh Krishna is also making his comeback after a prolonged back injury, and eyes will be on him as well in terms of fitness.
India squad for Ireland tour: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Washington Sundar, Shivam Dube, Shahbaz Ahmed, Sanju Samson Jitesh Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah (C), Ravi Bishnoi, Prasidh Krishna, Mukesh Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan