Key players may skip Zimbabwe tour
Taking note of the fatigue factor, India are likely field a second string team for the tour of Zimbabwe and senior players such as skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni might be given a break when the selectors meet here tomorrow to pick the squad for the limited-overs series.
The Indians have just finished a disappointing tour of Bangladesh, losing the ODI series 1-2, completing seven months of continuous cricket.
In this backdrop, selectors may give the younger players a chance with sources indicating that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Test captain Virat Kohli and top spinner R Ashwin are likely to be rested.
Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina are the two players in running for <g data-gr-id="33">captaincy</g>. Rohit is the top contender after successfully leading Mumbai Indians to the Indian Premier League title this season.
Raina, on the other hand, has been a stop-gap captain in shorter formats. Elsewhere, batsman Ajinkya Rahane is set to be picked for the series starting July 10.
“Ashwin and Kohli are playing both formats. Dhoni has also had a lot of workload since the Australia tour followed by the World Cup and a gruelling IPL. These three require rest. A fresh Kohli and Ashwin are a must for Sri Lanka Tests which will be a very tough assignment,” a Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) source told PTI. In case Ashwin is rested, the toss-up for <g data-gr-id="39">off-spinner’s</g> slot will be between Parveez Rasool and Harbhajan Singh.
However, if the selectors prefer a junior team, it might turn the tide in Rasool’s favour. Robin Uthappa can also make the cut. Some of the certainties are Stuart Binny, Ambati Rayudu and Mohit Sharma. Pacer Umesh Yadav might get some <g data-gr-id="35">much needed</g> rest after injury free last six months.
The tour comprising three ODIs and two T20s was in doubt, but a BCCI release on Saturday put all speculations to rest. The series had been rendered doubtful owing to unresolved issues between the country’s cricket board and host broadcaster Ten Sports.
Zimbabwe Cricket had said in a press release that it was hopeful of going ahead with the tour. The Hamilton Masakadza-led Zimbabwe have played good cricket in recent times when they gave hosts Pakistan a tough time during their 3 ODIs and 2 T20s, which they eventually lost. Suresh Raina led the 15-man Indian squad when the Men in Blue toured Zimbabwe in 2010 for a limited-overs <g data-gr-id="42">series,</g> while Virat Kohli captained the team in 2013. Even though Raina’s India failed to make the finals of the triangular series involving hosts Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, Kohli-led India blanked the hosts in ODI series.