The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will have to pick an enlarged Indian squad for their upcoming Australia tour which consists of three ODIs, three T20Is and a four-match Test series. The tour includes the first-ever day-night pink-ball Test match between the two sides.
Nick Hockley, the Interim-CEO of Cricket Australia, has already confirmed a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for the visiting team. And former India chief selector MSK Prasad thinks that it might be a good idea to have at least a 26-strong squad for the upcoming tour.
Current, Pakistan team in the UK with a squad of 29 (including white-ball specialists) while the West Indies have 26 players on their roster to maintain the bio-secure protocols in England.
Prasad opines on Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma as captains
“The team management and seniors will have an opportunity to look at the youngsters who are knocking the doors. In this process, you can also monitor those players who can be the potential guys for different spots in future. Since we cannot trust the net bowlers about their exposure to COVID, it would be ideal to go with a large contingent as we can be assured of all the players’ safety as they will be in a bio-secure environment,” Prasad reasoned.
“In case someone tests COVID positive, then the players from this contingent can be picked as they would have served the mandatory quarantine period,” he added.
“Even for our main bowlers, they will have fresh batsmen to bowl at unlike the same bunch of first-team boys. For instance, Shreyas Iyer is very aggressive and at times, can be unorthodox. So, he might offer a variety of skills which the Australian batsman might possess. “On the other hand, a left-armer Khaleel Ahmed’s presence will help in preparing for Mitchell Starc’s angled deliveries,” said Prasad.
Prasad also feels that new selector Sunil Joshi will not have a reference point for choosing players as there has been no domestic cricket in India due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Hence a large squad is the need of an hour.
“The only tough part that we will be facing because of this large contingent is managing such a large pool of players. To provide quality practice sessions to all of them will also be a challenge,” concluded Prasad.
MSK Prasad’s 26-man India squad:
Openers: Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul
Middle-order: Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer
Wicketkeeper: Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha
Spinners: Ravichandran Ashwin, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal
All-rounder: Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya
Pacers: Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Khaleel Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar