No Rohit, Kohli, Shami for Afghanistan series, Pandya likely to lead India | Cricket

Top Indian cricketers including captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, pacers Mohammed Shami, and Mohammed Siraj could be rested from the three-match ODI series at home against Afghanistan, reported news agency PTI. There were reports of the mini-series being in danger due to India’s cramped schedule but BCCI is likely to go ahead with the series, which was announced by board secretary Jay Shah last month. The selectors are likely to name a second-string squad with Hardik Pandya as the captain.

India's Kuldeep Yadav along with Captain Rohit Sharma and Virast Kohli celebrate(ANI)
India’s Kuldeep Yadav along with Captain Rohit Sharma and Virast Kohli celebrate(ANI)

The dates for the series are not yet announced but it is likely to be in the third and fourth week of next month in between the WTC final and India’s tour to West Indies. Keeping the workload of the likes of Rohit, Kohli, and Shami in mind, the board has decided to give them a breather.

Most of the top Indian cricketers are involved in the IPL, a two-month-long tournament, and some of them will also feature in the WTC final against Australia at The Oval from June 7. India also have a full-fledged three-format tour of the West Indies lined up in July, where a full-strength Indian side is set to travel. They will play two Tests, three ODIs and five T20Is against the West Indies from July 12 to August 13, after which the team is expected to play a three-match T20I series in Ireland.

Hence, it is almost impossible to include the likes of Rohit and Kohli in the Afghanistan series. This might open the doors for IPL performers like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma and Ruturaj Gaikwad.

Mirwais Ashraf, the president of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is in India for the final of the IPL and while a meeting between the members of the Asian Cricket Council is slated to take place, India and Afghanistan cricket boards could also finalise the details of their proposed white-ball series.

The report also claimed that Rohit, Kohli and even Hardik Pandya might be rested from the Ireland series keeping the Asia Cup in mind.

The ACC board members will meet on the sidelines of the IPL final to finalise the future of the Asia Cup 2023, which means that the workload will only increase for the Indian players, given that there is an all-important 50-over World Cup lined up for October-November.

If finalised, the Asia Cup 2023 is expected to be played in September, which means that the Indian players will be hard-pressed to find time to rest and recuperate, and a packed calendar has already witnessed big injuries to key players such as Jasprit Bumrah and Shreyas Iyer with no set timeline of a comeback. Additionally, in September, India are also set to play a three-match ODI series against Australia — a second such series this year — to finalise World Cup preparations.

According to ‘Cricbuzz’, the BCCI is finding it difficult to schedule the Afghanistan series, proposed to be having three ODIs, given the time constraint and also because the broadcast deal with Disney Star has ended and a new tender is yet to be issued. However, a senior BCCI secretary Jay Shah during an earlier interaction with media in Mumbai had said: “BCCI media rights tender will be on schedule this year (June-July) and will depend on the Afghanistan tour, but more likely the process will start from the Australia series. The Board will speak to all stakeholders concerned and will come up with an interim decision.”


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