After numerous complaints from players including skipper Virat Kohli and star pacer Jasprit Bumrah on bio-bubble fatigue, the Board of Cricket for Control of India (BCCI) is all set to finally pay heed. Despite defiance, the BCCI will now implement a rotational policy like the England & Wales Cricket Board, starting with the home series against New Zealand.
“We must take into account the fatigue of players. Staying in consecutive bio-bubble is not easy and there will be a need to rotate squad. The New Zealand series will be a start and with the talent we have in the domestic circuit, a lot more players will get a chance at least in T20s while we have a core group for Test,” a senior BCCI official told InsideSport.
With back to back series planned for 2022 and 2023 which will also include the T20 and 50-over World Cup, the BCCI is taking the bio-bubble fatigue seriously. With an important South Africa tour coming up, many senior players were rested and the likes of Shreyas Iyer, who till now was only considered for white-ball cricket, was called up for the Test squad. On South Africa A tour, Krishnappa Gowtham, Devdutt Padikkal, Priyank Panchal amongst many domestic stars will be sent. But it’s all part of the plan.
“Shreyas Iyer’s selection is purely to ready back-up for future. Rahane and Pujara aren’t getting any younger and we must take into account the fatigue of players. Now, the spinners too have been playing constantly and they will need rest sooner than later. Jayant Yadav could come in handy as a backup option for future series,” the official added.
What will be the changes in Rahul Dravid’s tenure?
- BCCI will introduce a rotation policy barring important tours.
- Rahul Dravid talked about players’ fatigue during his presentation and takes the matter seriously.
- A larger pool of T20 players will be prepared and senior players will often be rested from home series.
- But unlike ECB, the BCCI will not force the players to rest. Rather, the players will be asked if they want to.
- BCCI takes into account Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara’s recent struggles and wants to have backups ready.
The ECB has often been criticised for rotating squad too heavily. The likes of Moeen Ali was omitted from the Test series against India in February-March while they have rested star players frequently. While the results haven’t been exactly what they wanted but ECB has stuck to the policy. With India playing over 50 matches (all formats combined) every year apart from IPL, the BCCI feels the need to have rotation policy and the newly appointed head coach is also on board with the idea.
“We have been discussing the rotation policy for some time now. Rahul had his ideas too. But it will not apply to important tours like England, Australia or South Africa. These are important series and we will need the full squad available. So, it’s important to rotate them if the players feel the need to in home series and other series against smaller nations,” the official added.
The India vs New Zealand series was a start. Virat Kohli was granted an extended break for T20 series while the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sahrma and Shardul Thakur were rested. From Test series, Rohit Sharma has been rested beside the pace quarter.
Considering the decision on rotation policy, it was surprising that Hanuma Vihari was omitted from the Test squad against New Zealand. But InisdeSport has learnt that the selectors and the team management are not happy with his performance post-injury recovery.
In domestic cricket, he hasn’t achieved as much as the selectors wanted. In County stint, he had just one half-century. While some felt he should have been in the Test squad for NZ, others wanted him to prove his mettle and be ready for South Africa series.
“Look, Hanuma Vihari is an experienced player but he needs to prove himself before being called up again. Initially, the plan was to call him up for the New Zealand series but we felt it was not the right time for him and need a few more innings. South Africa A tour will be important for him. He will get acclimatised. As the squad will be larger, if he does well, he can be called in. But it will be entirely up to his performance. There are others in the line too,” a BCCI source said.
India’s T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (Vice-Captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohd. Siraj
India’s Test squad: Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), KS Bharat (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Md. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Virat Kohli (expected to join and lead from 2nd Test).