India skipper Virat Kohli’s workload could be a topic of discussion while Rishabh Pant could have prolific Sanju Samson for cover during three T20s when the selection committee picks the squad for the upcoming series against Bangladesh in Mumbai on Thursday.
Kohli has featured in 48 out of the 56 games India have played across formats since October 2018. However, the selection committee will leave it on Kohli to decide whether he needs a break or continue playing.
There is expected to be serious discussions about rookie Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dubey, who might replace an injured Hardik Pandya for the all-rounder’s slot, primarily based on his big-hitting prowess.
Apart from the three-match T20 series which starts in New Delhi on November 3, followed by matches at Rajkot and Nagpur, Bangladesh will also play two Tests as a part of the World Championship in Indore and Kolkata.
Samson, who recently hit a double hundred for Kerala in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, is expected to come in but only as second option to Pant for the time being.
“There is no harm if both Rishabh and Sanju are there in the team. They have played together in IPL also. Rishabh has had limited success in shorter formats but he is a long-term investment and we need to persist with him,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by PTI.
The official added, “At the same time, Sanju is a player with game-changing abilities. Keeping World T20 in mind, the team management needs to check other options also as everyone knows that it’s time to look beyond Mahendra Singh Dhoni.”
With Kohli not there in the squad, Samson is being seen as a back-up batsman but it will be interesting to see if Manish Pandey retains his place in the squad that played against South Africa.
Mumbai all-rounder Dubey has now pipped Vijay Shankar as the second choice all-rounder in the shortest format, based on big-hitting prowess. “Everyone agrees that Shivam’s bowling is still not international standard and nowhere near the kind of pace and variety Hardik possesses. But he is a left-hander, which is an advantage and can hit big sixes. Even Kohli has seen him a bit in IPL while playing for RCB,” the official said.
While Shankar was the second choice all-rounder till the 50-over World Cup, he is now being “strictly seen as an ODI cricketer”, when it comes to national scheme of things. It is unlikely that the famed wrist spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will get a look in as Rahul Chahar and Washington Sundar are set to get another opportunity.
KL Rahul, after his good show in Hazare Trophy, is likely to retain his place in the side. Veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan has been horribly out of form but the selectors might continue with him for one more series.
In case there is a question of dropping Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal could be a choice as reserve opener. Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini and Khaleel Ahmed are expected to be the three frontline pacers.