To prove the almost constant nature of international cricket, India have named their squads for the forthcoming tours of New Zealand and Bangladesh, even whilst many senior players are involved with the T20I World Cup in Australia.
Indeed the New Zealand tour starts just days after the final itself at the MCG on 13th November, whilst the Bangladesh visit is scheduled for December.
New Zealand tour
The New Zealand tour will consist of three T20Is, followed by three ODIs. The three T20Is, which will be staged in Wellington, Mount Maunganui and Napier respectively, will be held on November 18th, 20th and 22nd.
Depending on what happens in the next two weeks, this could potentially be a re-match of the World Cup final.
Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch will host the ODIs on November 25th, 27th and 30th.
India begin their tour of Bangladesh with all ODIs, all of which will take place in Mirpur, between December 4th and 10th. They will then play two tests in Chattogram, beginning in December 14th, and then back in Mirpur, starting on December 22nd
If India still entertain hopes of qualifying for the final of the World Test Championship at The Oval next June, these are two must win games.
With the need to manage the workload of some of the top players, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul will all miss the New Zealand tour. Hardik Pandya will take over the captaincy whilst Rishabh Pant will be his vice skipper (perhaps to compensate for his lack of World Cup involvement so far).
He will play a similar role in the ODI side, which will once again be led by Shikhar Dhawan, who has become Mr. Dependable for India, always ready to fill in when others are unavailable for any reason.
The big news when it comes to the Bangladesh tour is the return to the ranks of Ravindra Jadeja. The all-rounder was forced to miss the World Cup with the knee injury he suffered whilst fielding in the Asia Cup. However, having undergone extensive rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, he is expected to be fit.
There is no place for Jasprit Bumrah though. The pace bowler is still recovering from the stress fracture in his back he picked up whilst training for a T2OI match and the selectors do not want to rush him back to action too soon.
They are conscious that they may have been partially responsible for the injury that too caused him to miss the World Cup.
Both players have been big misses when it comes to India’s chances of winning the T20 World Cup for the second time, but they will hope to play a full role when it comes to the longer form of the World Cup which will be staged in India next year.
Whilst Rahul, Kohli and Rahul have all been selected, Pandya will not be required in Bangladesh.
Form dictates selection
Among the fringe players, current form has been the deciding factor when it comes to selection.
That has seen Shubman Gill replace Mayank Agarwal, who featured in India’s test appearance against England in June, whilst Hanuma Vihari and Ajinkya Rahane have both been left out this time.
Both have been told they need to score runs in domestic cricket, although the door is not closed on anybody.
Prithvi Shaw is another surprise omission, and he has been reassured that he will get his chance.
With India facing a hectic schedule of games before the start of the next Indian T20 franchise league there should be ample opportunities.
Despite the squad rotation, the Indian selectors have resisted the temptation to bring in any surprise names, although Sarfaraz Khan can consider himself unfortunate not to be given his opportunity. He topped the scoring charts in this year’s Ranji Trophy, making 562 runs in nine innings, including four centuries, one of which came in the final against Madhya Pradesh.
There is also no place just yet for left armed fast bowler Mohsin Khan, despite calls from his supporters that he deserves his shot.
However, it is a sign of the quality in depth possessed by India at the moment that they can afford to ignore players of their talent at this stage.
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