Chief selector MSK Prasad hinted on Monday that his panel will continue with its rotation policy, keeping in mind the tough overseas tours on the horizon, and even skipper Virat Kohli will be rested for a few matches during the ongoing home season.
On Monday, Kohli was named in the squad for the three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand and the first two of the three Tests against Sri Lanka, which raises the possibility of him being rested for the third Test against the southern neighbours and the subsequent limited-overs series. Incidentally, the third Lanka Test and the ODI series and T20 series will be played in December, the month during which Kohli had asked for a break for “personal reasons”.
Incidentally, the third Test against the Lankans is to be held at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, Kohli’s home ground. The panel headed by Prasad has stressed on keeping key members of the Indian team fresh in view of the hectic schedule, and the chairman indicated on Monday that the “rotation policy will be applicable” for the captain as well.
After the Lanka series, India has a demanding tour of South Africa at the turn of the year, and the trip to England later in 2018.
“With regards to Virat Kohli, there were some speculations that he is going to be rested for the whole of Sri Lankan series. It is not right. As far as the Test series is concerned, he is going to play and at some point of time, the rotation policy that we are following will apply to the captain,” Prasad said during a media conference to announce the squads.
Since returning after a shoulder injury during the Test series against Australia in March, Kohli has played non-stop cricket, for India and the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and before the first ODI against the Kiwis, he hinted at the need to remain fresh going into tough overseas tours. He said both batsmen and bowlers would have to be rotated in order to ensure that they don’t burn out with overseas tours, including those to South Africa and England lined up for next year.
“We have spoken about the schedule, it’s become quite hectic. That’s something we will definitely have to sit and discuss in future. Because, if you look at New Zealand, they haven’t played any cricket after Champions Trophy. There has been such a good lay-off. It can be the difference in doing well in a big tournament and performing poorly,” Kohli had said.
“Everyone needs time to come back, especially the fast bowlers. So we are doing that now with Umesh (Yadav) and (Mohammad) Shami. We want them fresh for a Test season coming up. We don’t want overtired players and that’s something we have spoken about already. Even some of the key batsmen will definitely get some rest in the future weeks because of the importance of the away tours coming up. So we will have to figure out ways to do that. But it’s certainly a thing that we need to discuss for the future as well.” Prasad said the selection panel was keeping an eye on Kohli’s schedule.
“We are also monitoring his workload. He has been playing continuously right from IPL till today, we need to give him a break which we will consider after the Test series,” he said.
Shreyas, Siraj in T20 squad
Rookie Hyderabad pacer Mohammed Siraj and Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer were picked in the 16-man T20 squad against New Zealand, which begins at the Kotla on November 1. The big guns made a return for the Sri Lanka Test series, with Murali Vijay returning after an injury lay-off at the expense of Abhinav Mukund, while Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja coming back after being rested in limited-overs games.
Siraj, who impressed with his temperemant for Indian Premier League team Sunrisers Hyderabad, has been chosen after good performances for India A in South Africa and recent matches against New Zealand, while Iyer has been a prolific performer in domestic cricket and for India A in recent times.
The Mumbai boy scored a double hundred earlier this year in a warm-up game against Australia along with a match-winning hundred against South Africa A in a tri-series. “Shreyas Iyer has been prolific in all forms of the game, be it Tests, ODIs or T20s or IPL – name anything, he is performing. If we pick a player, we will give him an extended run and we will continue with him for some point and nurture him and see that he goes on to become successful,” Prasad said.
“With Siraj, he is doing well and has been duly rewarded.” Ashish Nehra will retire after the first T20 game against the Kiwis on his home ground, but the chief selector said the veteran left-arm pacer has not been guaranteed a spot in the playing XI. “Whether he (Nehra) is going to play or not, is clearly the decision of the team management. There are no assurances from our side (selectors), whether he is going to play or not.”
T20I squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Ashish Nehra
Test squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.