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News

Bumrah fit but selectors cautious, Pant sent to NCA before Australia Tests

Kohli and Rahul have been rested for T20Is, while Rohit was available only for ODIs

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
28-Dec-2022
Because of different reasons, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul will miss one series or both  •  Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images

Because of different reasons, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul will miss one series or both  •  Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images

While he has started batting in the nets, Rohit Sharma is expected to be fully fit by the end of the first week of January, in time for the ODI series against Sri Lanka. That made him unavailable for the T20Is starting January 3. KL Rahul and Virat Kohli have been rested after the full tour of Bangladesh. It is learnt that neither of them asked for the break, but the selectors felt they needed the rest.
Jasprit Bumrah was declared fit and was available for selection, but the selectors don't want to rush him back. They want to simulate training for him that replicates the workload of a proper match, and see how he holds up before he is brought back to international cricket.
That is also the reason why Ravindra Jadeja, who was earlier named in the squad for the Bangladesh tour, is still out of international cricket. The selectors now want to see him in match simulation just to be sure of his match fitness.
Rishabh Pant has been sent to the NCA for strength and conditioning before the Test series against Australia. The team management feels he will have a key role to play in the Tests, and needs this housekeeping break after playing 44 internationals this year. India need to win three of four Tests against Australia to qualify for the World Test Championship final.
A significant development is the promotion of Hardik Pandya to full-time vice-captain in both formats, which comes as a recognition of his leadership ability. That should also be a sign that the place of Rahul, the previous vice-captain, is not set in stone in either white-ball format.
Shikhar Dhawan has been dropped even though he captained the ODI side when the main players focused on T20Is in the last two years. In Rohit's absence in the third ODI against Bangladesh, Ishan Kishan scored a double-century. There is also Shubman Gill fighting for the opening slot. Even Pant can't be ruled out as an opener although his spot, for now, seems to be in the middle order where he scored a hundred against England three innings ago.
One big concern for India as they enter the World Cup year is the unavailability of Prasidh Krishna, who was their point of difference in the middle overs with his height, pace and hard lengths. Prasidh sustained a back injury on the eve of India A's series against New Zealand in September, and is yet to recover. That is probably why the net has been cast wider in the ODIs: Mohammed Shami is back, Arshdeep Singh is set to get a run, and Umran Malik is named in the squad as well.
Deepak Chahar is yet to recover from the injury he sustained during the Bangladesh tour, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar's name was not discussed at all, which points to his being dropped.
The selectors seem to be settling in on Yuzvendra Chahal as the sole legspinner in the white-ball squads, which is why Ravi Bishnoi has been released after spending time with the squads last year.
Shreyas Iyer and Mohammed Siraj have been given a break for the T20I series, and will be back for the ODIs.
These teams were selected by the already sacked panel of selectors as the BCCI is yet to appoint the replacement panels. It is learnt that the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Ashok Malhotra, Sulakshana Naik and Jatin Paranjpe has been sent all the applications, but hasn't shortlisted the candidates it wants to interview. It is expected a decision on the new panel will finally be announced in the first week of January.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo