Phased rest for Indians in lead up to WC

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Although India’s next series against South Africa begins only 10 days after the IPL final, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is unlikely to rest the regular players for the five T20Is unless anyone comes forward with a request. The plan is to pick a strong squad for the series at home, with the regulars set to be given rest for the tour of Zimbabwe in August.

Ahead of the IPL, the BCCI decided to keep track of the fitness and training management of all its contracted players with the help of the National Cricket Academy. It is understood that there are no big workload concerns, but sometime during the South Africa series, the entire team will be subject to a fitness test.

After the South Africa series, Rohit Sharma & Co will depart to the UK in June to play one Test (postponed from 2021), three T20Is and as many ODIs against England and another one against Ireland before leaving for the Caribbean, where they will play the West Indies in three ODIs and three T20Is in July-August. There are also indications that the number of T20Is could increase to five, with the last two matches likely to take place in in Florida.  

With the Asia Cup slotted tentatively for August end to mid-September, there is no clarity on when the tour to Zimbabwe will take place. While the biggest possibility is sending a second-string team, the BCCI is also simultaneously planning to give rest to key players at different times.

While certain players are expected to be rested on tours depending on the workload, the team management and the selectors want all the key members available all these series as they are important in the T20 World Cup scheme of things. 

With each of these tours containing ODIs, some of the regulars may be given rest at different points. Moreover, with the Tests against Australia pushed to February-March next year, there is a small window available after the Asia Cup. The BCCI hasn’t arranged any home series for the period, which means the players could get a one-month gap before the T20 World Cup commences. 

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