XtraTime Web Desk: Indian team got only seven ODIs left before the World Cup as India enter the last leg of preparations in the upcoming limited-over series against a visiting Australian team.
India will play five ODIs and 2 T20Is starting from February 24. The selection committee headed MSK Prasad will pick the squad on Friday, February 15.
As it turns out, India are likely to rest Rohit Sharma for at least a part of the upcoming series to give him a much-needed break after the tours of Australia and New Zealand. In Virat Kohli’s absence, Rohit had led the team in the absence of Virat Kohli, who was rested for the second half of India’s 4-1 win in the ODI series and the subsequent T20I series. Kohli is likely to return for the upcoming assignment.
The selection committee and team management are on the same page when it comes to workload management. Recently, head coach Ravi Shastri had hinted that he will be monitoring the workload of players even during the Indian Premier League (IPL), starting March 23.
Pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested for the limited-over series in Australia and New Zealand, is likely to return to the squad while the selection committee, head by MSK Prasad, will take a call on the availability of wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Meanwhile, it is also expected that out-of-favour India batsmen, KL Rahul, and Ajinkya Rahane may get another chance to impress the selectors. India, it seems, are keen on taking a backup opener for the World Cup to England and one of Rahul and Rahane may get a ticket, considering their performances in the upcoming series and the IPL.
At the same time, India will be wary not to give Australia, the defending champions, any kind of momentum going into the World Cup, a BCCI source told .
“It is also important to note that the Indians would want to keep the foot on the pedal and ensure that they don’t give the Australians any momentum going into the World Cup. A good series against India would mean a confidence booster for the team. So, there has to be a balance so that the composition of the team is not affected.”
Meanwhile, World Cup-winning off-spinner Harbhajan Singh had opined India can afford to rest some of their senior players and give a chance to youngsters of the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal and Priyank Panchal.
“I don’t think you need to put the best 11-13 players in play because they had a very long tour of Australia and New Zealand. If they are asked to play in India, it might be too much for their body and then there is IPL also. So it will be good if the senior players can be rested as much as possible,” Harbhajan told.
“Don’t think only about the World Cup but there has to be cricket after that too and a look should be given to people who will play after that and those should be looked at. Some senior players should be rested and some young players should get the opportunity in the India vs Australia series and it should be a mix-and-match” .