In a surprising turn of events, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is now contemplating the possibility of fielding a second-string team for the proposed home series against Afghanistan. This decision comes as a means to provide much-needed rest to the senior players, including captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, ahead of the challenging tour of the West Indies.
BCCI’s Unique Approach: Second-String Team Considered for Afghanistan Series
The Indian players recently concluded an intense Indian Premier League (IPL) season, which lasted for nearly two months. Following the IPL, they are set to participate in the upcoming World Test Championship (WTC) final in England. With the WTC final demanding their full attention, senior players like Kohli and Rohit require adequate rest before embarking on the demanding tour of the West Indies, where all three formats of the game will be played.
Due to the limited window available for the Afghanistan series, scheduled between June 20 and 30, the BCCI is considering either shortening the series or transforming it into a T20I or ODI series. If this plan materializes, a second-string side led by Hardik Pandya will be entrusted with the responsibility of representing India.
Workload Management in World Cup year
Discussions between the president of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), Mirwais Ashraf, and the BCCI will take place during Ashraf’s visit to India for the IPL final. This meeting coincides with a scheduled gathering of the Asian Cricket Council, providing an ideal opportunity for both boards to finalize their plans.
After the WTC final and the West Indies tour, a three-match T20I series in Ireland is expected to follow, primarily featuring IPL performers. Even Hardik Pandya might be rested from the Ireland series, keeping in mind the workload and the upcoming Asia Cup. The Asian Cricket Council members will convene during the IPL final to discuss and finalize the future of the Asia Cup 2023. If the tournament is confirmed for September, it will further add to the workload of Indian players as they prepare for the highly anticipated 50-over World Cup, scheduled for October-November.
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