The Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee will have some sleepless nights before selecting the squad for T20s against Afghanistan with veterans Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli keen to play the World Cup in June. Both Rohit and Kohli have not played in the shortest format for India since the T20 World Cup semifinal against England in November 2022. The two national selectors, Shiv Sunder Das and Salil Ankola are both in South Africa and will be joined by their chairman Agarkar during the course of the second Test at Newlands.
It is expected that Agarkar and Co will speak to head coach Rahul Dravid along with Test and ODI skipper Rohit, star batter Kohli before announcing the squad against Afghanistan.
Around 30 T20 specialists, including India and IPL stars, will be monitored ahead of the ICC event in Caribbean and United States.
It remains to be seen whether Agarkar and his colleagues select both Rohit and Kohli for the short series starting January 11 in Mohali or directly check their form and fitness during IPL.
The two contemporary legends have apparently made it clear that they would very much like to be part of T20 World Cup.
With England Tests starting in Hyderabad from January 25, it is unlikely that even if Rohit and Virat are selected, they would play beyond a couple of matches.
“Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya aren’t fit. The Afghanistan series won’t tell you anything. Everything will be decided on the basis of the first month of IPL,” a senior BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Workload management and monitoring core group during IPL
The BCCI brass knows that they can’t tell any franchise to optimally use a potential pick for the T20 World Cup which will be held in June-July after IPL concludes in last week of May.
“The BCCI can never tell a franchise to manage a star player’s workload unless it’s a case of injury management,” source added.
So there is a possibility that at least 25 to 30 players are zeroed in and monitored closely during the two months of IPL.
There could be a case of injury or fitness issue during the IPL and the selection committee would need two players for each slot, so that the like-for-like replacement is ready.
The only player whose ready replacement won’t be available is Mumbai Indians skipper Hardik Pandya.
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