CHENNAI: The Indian team management has requested the BCCI to allow them to “carry” three-four pacers from the domestic circuit for a 10-day period as part of a preparatory process for the tour of South Africa, starting later this year.
If the BCCI adheres to the request, it would be the first such instance of fringe players being taken on a tour. These bowlers are unlikely to feature in the lone warm-up fixture, and instead would be used mostly as net bowlers in the lead up to the first Test starting on Jan 5, 2018.
However, Express understands that the team management hasn’t made any request with regards to choice of bowlers being picked and it will be completely down to the selectors to decide who gets the ticket. In the past when the team has travelled abroad, it has always lacked quality net bowlers and the team- management are also mindful of the fact that Cricket South Africa might not play their main pacers in the tour match keeping in mind the high stakes involved in the three-match Test series.
With Virat Kohli & Co unbeaten in a Test series dating back to January 2015, many believe this is India’s best chance to post a series win in South Africa. India, for the record, has only won twice in the Rainbow Nation in 2006 and 2010.
“In the past when we travelled abroad, the hosts have usually not provided quality net bowlers and hence our bowlers have had to toil hard. The schedule is already cramped and the team doesn’t want the workload of the frontline pacers to increase by bowling a lot at nets. Instead, if we take these bowlers for a 10-day period, they will get exposure and get used to the team environment. That is why we are looking at bowlers who have the potential to be part of the side in the future,” sources in the know told Express.
Kohli to be rested
India are most likely to take to the field at Feroz Shah Kotla for the third Test against Sri Lanka sans regular captain Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane will be asked to lead the side.
However, it remains to be seen if a replacement is named as Shikhar Dhawan will return to the side for the final Test.
Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma is likely to take charge of the side for the ODIs and T20Is against Sri Lanka.