NEW DELHI: Keeping bubble fatigue and workload in mind, the national selectors are likely to rest a bunch of regular players from the team for the two-Test series against New Zealand at home.
India’s Test team for the series is likely to be officially out in a day or two, it is learnt.
TOI understands that some premier fast bowlers, specifically Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Shardul Thakur are expected to rest their tired legs.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who has been a constant presence in the side across formats of late, is also expected to sit out of the New Zealand series to get a much-needed respite from the bio-bubble life.
A combination of a packed schedule and the unwillingness of top players to skip IPL, or even a part of it, have led to this situation which cannot be good for Indian cricket. More careful planning is required if India nurses serious World Cup ambitions in future events.
Regular Test captain Virat Kohli, meanwhile, will be missing the first Test in Kanpur.
Kohli will assume charge from the second Test in Mumbai onwards before the team leaves for a full tour of South Africa in the second week of December.
The selectors, it is learnt, are torn between Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane as the stand-in Test captain. Rohit has been recently appointed as Kohli’s successor in the T20 format. Rahane’s indifferent form and Rohit’s growing stature as a leader across formats has got the selectors and new head coach Rahul Dravid thinking.
However, the management firmly believes that Kohli is the undisputed full-time Test captain. It is understood that the selectors are keen to persist with Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha (as the first choice wicketkeeper). Andhra’s KS Bharat will be the second ‘keeper.
TWO-DAY BREAK FOR PLAYERS
BCCI has offered a short break from bio-bubble life before the players assemble for the three-T20I series which starts against New Zealand on Nov 17 in Jaipur.
The players who have been in UAE for the T20 World Cup and the ones who were playing the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament have all been allowed to go home to be with their families. The players are getting a break of two or three days depending on when they exit the existing bubble. There will be three-day quarantine. The move also comes with the tour of South Africa in mind. Some players, once in the Jaipur bubble, may have to stay in it for another three months.
T DILIP TO BE FIELDING COACH
BCCI will also announce new head coach Rahul Dravid’s support staff on Thursday. While incumbent batting coach Vikram Rathour and NCA bowling coach Paras Mhambrey are set to get the jobs, T Dilip will be the fielding coach.
Dilip has been in the NCA system for a while and travelled with the Indian team to Sri Lanka in July. Dilip’s competition was Abhay Sharma, who has been a part of the India ‘A’ and U-19 teams.
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