According to reports, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is planning to give a break to senior Indian players during the upcoming 3-match ODI series against Afghanistan, citing the need for workload management. As a result, cricket enthusiasts may not witness the anticipated clash between Virat Kohli and Naveen Ul Haq, as Virat is among the players who will be given a rest by the Indian board.
Despite initial concerns about the India vs Afghanistan series being at risk due to Team India’s hectic schedule, the BCCI is expected to proceed with the series as announced by board secretary Jay Shah a month ago. However, in an effort to manage player workloads, the board has decided to rest its senior players and instead opt for a youthful squad for the series.
According to PTI, there is a high likelihood that a second-string Indian team will participate in the ODI series against Afghanistan, considering their upcoming commitment in the Caribbean. Notable senior players such as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Mohammad Shami, and Mohammed Siraj may be rested for the series.
In this scenario, all-rounder Hardik Pandya could potentially assume the captaincy responsibilities once again. Although the specific dates for the series have not been announced yet, the only available window for the BCCI to schedule the Afghanistan series falls between June 20-30.
Currently, Indian cricketers are actively involved in the IPL, a tournament spanning two months. Following the IPL, the players will participate in the WTC final against Australia at The Oval starting on June 7. Subsequently, Team India is slated to embark on a comprehensive tour of the West Indies in July, where they will field a full-strength squad.
Given these commitments, it appears highly unlikely for the BCCI to include Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the Afghanistan series. Consequently, promising young performers from the IPL, such as Rinku Singh, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, and Ruturaj Gaikwad, might receive an opportunity to represent the Indian national team and demonstrate their potential.
Mirwais Ashraf, the president of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), is currently in India for the IPL final. Additionally, a meeting between members of the Asian Cricket Council is scheduled to take place in the coming days, providing an opportunity for the India and Afghanistan cricket boards to finalize the details of their proposed ODI series.
With the ODI World Cup scheduled later this year in October-November, the BCCI is determined to effectively manage the workload of their crucial players. The tournament holds the highest priority for Team India, and thus, the board aims to ensure that key players are in optimal condition for this prestigious event.