With their long and gruelling South African sojourn finally drawing to a close, the Indian cricket team is already looking at its next assignment which will be the T20 tri-series featuring India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Labelled as the Nidahas Trophy, the tri-nation meet is being organised to mark the 70th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence, with all the matches scheduled to be played at the R. Premadasa Stadium (RPS) in Colombo.
Virat Kohli could get a much-needed break in T20 tri-series
Chaired by former wicket-keeper MSK Prasad, the Indian national selection committee will meet over this weekend to debate and decide on the Indian squad for the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka from March 6 to 18. Reliable BCCI sources have indicated that captain Virat Kohli might get a much-needed rest ahead of the IPL if he decides to skip the T20 tri-series, as reported by Mid-Day.
Kohli has featured in three Tests, six ODIs and two T20Is (with another one scheduled on Saturday) and has been seen struggling with minor niggles and injuries throughout the South African tour. The decision to skip the Nidahas Trophy will, however, depend on the skipper himself.
A reliable BCCI insider told PTI that if Kohli wants the rest, he is likely to get it. “In Virat’s case, it’s he who decides on whether he would like to opt out or not. But you never know he might just want to play the T20 series as this is the last tourney of the season. Once the tournament is over, he will get a fortnight off before the Indian Premier League,” the source said.
The selection panel might once again have to go in with Rohit Sharma as the stand-in skipper if Kohli is indeed rested for the tri-series, with the only other captaincy option being Ajinkya Rahane. Karnataka’s prolific run-getter Mayank Agarwal will fancy his chances of getting a shot at the international level as a replacement for Kohli.
The other area of concern for the MSK Prasad-led committee is the ever-increasing workload of speedsters Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. The duo have also featured heavily in South Africa and are bound to be jaded and tired after the tour that has lasted for nearly two months.
Young pacers like Mohammad Siraj, Basil Thampi and Siddarth Kaul are expected to get a call-up for the T20 tri-series if the selectors decide to give some time off to Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah. In their absence, Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur will have to shoulder the responsibility of leading India’s attack in Sri Lanka.