The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday announced India would be touring Sri Lanka in the month of July which brings in more cricketing action for the fans and the players. The unfortunate suspension of the Indian Premier League due to the increasing spread of the Covid-19 virus had found the lovers of the game in an absolute state of shock. The announcement of this tour along with the World Test Championship final and a five-match test series against England will surely be a huge boost to both the players and the fans.
India will visit Sri Lanka in the month of July for a limited overs bilateral series including both ODI and T20 matches. This white-ball series in Sri Lanka will not feature the regular Indian players in the squad, but is set to include a group of youngsters who are deemed to be white-ball specialists. The squad will be without skipper, Virat Kohli, and vice-captain Rohit Sharma.
The logic behind fielding a ‘B’ team for a senior international series is the World Test Championship final in June and the India tour of England which starts sometime around August. Given the Indian cricket team will have to depart for the same in the month of June as per the ICC arrangements. This does not allow the batting and bowling stalwarts of the national side to participate in the bilateral fixture in Sri Lanka which is to be held in July. Moreover BCCI feels confident selecting a group of youngsters for the tour which will give them a clear measure of their abilities through their performances in this series.
Opportunity For Young Players
A lot of competition will be seen in the squad around the months of July to September which will require the fitness of the players. The performances of regular starters of the game will make a big difference given that the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is also nearby. India will play a total of 8 matches against Sri Lanka, out of which 5 of them will be ODI and the rest 3 will be T20 internationals. The big names that emerged out during the IPL 2021 season could see themselves on the team sheet.
This becomes a massive opportunity for players like Chetan Sakariya, Rahul Tewatia and Chahal who have not been named in the England tour. Players such as Sanju Samson, Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan who get fairly less amount of time on the field to prove themselves will have an entire series to do so. Among senior players who have been left out of the England tour, Shikhar Dhawan could be the one leading these boys.
Dhawan & Shaw Combination:
Dhawan was the top scorer in this year’s IPL 2021 before the tournament got suspended for an indefinite amount of time. With 380 runs to his name, Dhawan would be the strong contender to make it to the Sri Lanka tour. Followed by Prithvi Shaw and Rajasthan Royals captain, Sanju Samson who has scored 277 runs in the tournament. Samson and Devdutt Paddikal have had their highs and lows in this IPL, but have emerged as top performers of the game. Both these players have registered three-figure scores and Samson’s century tops the list as the highest runs scored in the IPL among Indian players.
Among the bowlers, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, and Rahul Chahar have been the real deal. The uncapped fast bowler Harshal Patel had already picked 17 wickets in just 7 games. Patel has been the only Indian bowler who had a five-wicket haul in this year’s IPL. The right-arm medium pacer who seems to be in a red hot form this season will be definitely up for grabs in the tour. Avesh Khan is the second highest wicket taker of IPL 2021. The Delhi Capitals bowler is just 3 wickets behind Patel and has been quite impressive. Other newcomers include Chetan Sakariya and Rahul Chahar who have been inconsistent yet brilliant with the ball.
BCCI has vested great confidence in nurturing the raw talent possessed by these youngsters. It will be interesting to see who makes it to the squad list and who does not. This selection and tour will be equally important for these players as this would clear the air of confusion around the board members regarding their playing abilities and pressure handling. These youngsters will need to take this very seriously if they wish to make it to the T20 World Cup.