CricketHardik To Lead India Against Afghanistan, Rohit, Kohli Given Rest
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India is facing a dilemma in scheduling a series against Afghanistan due to a jam-packed cricket calendar year. However, the matter has been settled and it is expected that Hardik Pandya will lead team India in the series against Afghanistan.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is considering various options, including fielding a second-string team and potentially shortening or converting the series into a T20I format.

With the impending ODI World Cup and other crucial tournaments on the horizon, the Indian cricket team has lot of cricket ahead of them, raising concerns about player workload and injuries.

India’s Hectic Cricket Schedule

The Indian cricket team has been involved in back-to-back cricketing events, starting with the intense Indian Premier League (IPL) followed by the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia.

The team’s commitments continue with a full tour of the West Indies, featuring Tests, ODIs, and T20Is, and a subsequent three-match T20I series in Ireland.

The workload is set to increase further with the possibility of the Asia Cup in September, followed by the highly anticipated 50-over World Cup in October-November.

Resting Key Players

To ensure player fitness and avoid burnout, senior players like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are likely to be rested during the Afghanistan series.

Given their crucial roles in both Tests and ODIs, adequate rest becomes paramount to maintain their form and performance.

This decision might pave the way for the emergence of other talented players and provide opportunities for them to showcase their skills on the international stage.

The BCCI faces multiple challenges in scheduling the Afghanistan series. Firstly, the narrow window available for the series falls between June 20-30, which may necessitate shortening the series or altering its format.

Furthermore, the BCCI’s broadcast deal with Disney Star has ended, and a new tender is yet to be issued, adding to the complexity of organizing the series.

However, the BCCI remains committed to resolving these issues and initiating the media rights tender process.

Virat Kohli and Rahmanullah Gurbaz during the ICC mens Twenty20 World Cup (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP)

Asia Cup 2023 and World Cup Preparations

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) board members, including the BCCI and the Afghanistan Cricket Board, are meeting to discuss the future of the Asia Cup 2023.

If finalized, the tournament is expected to be held in September, adding further strain on Indian players who will already be fatigued from their busy schedule.

In addition, India is scheduled to face Australia in a three-match ODI series in September to fine-tune their preparations for the ODI World Cup.

Resting key players and fielding a second-string side against Afghanistan might be the pragmatic solution in the face of these challenges.

With the World Cup on the horizon, the Indian team must strike a balance between adequate rest and effective preparation to make a mark in the upcoming tournaments.