India are planning to field a second string side against Afghanistan at home due to a busy calendar in the ODI World Cup year, it was reported on Thursday. In such a case, seniors like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will also be rested.
Earlier it was reported that BCCI was planning to cancel the Afghanistan series due to a cramped calendar.
All Indian players were involved in a gruelling IPL for nearly two months and will be in England for a one-off WTC final but after that, most seniors like Kohli and Rohit will need rest before they embark on West Indies tour where all three formats will be played. Kohli and Rohit are certain two play Tests and ODIs and would need adequate rest.
With the only window for the Afghanistan series between June 20-30, the BCCI might have to shorten the series or maybe convert it into either T20I or ODI series and play a second-string side led by Hardik Pandya.
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 Indian team has a packed schedule lined up after the conclusion of the IPL. While the coaching staff and some members of the team have already flown to England to prepare for the final of the World Test Championship against Australia starting on June 7, there is also a full tour of the Caribbean lined up ahead.
India 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. The Ireland series will mostly feature IPL performers and even Pandya could rest from that series keeping 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.”