India vs Sri Lanka: Selectors likely to rest Ashwin, Jadeja and Shami for ODI series – Will Virat Kohli opt out of the ODI series?
Fully aware of spinners’ heavy workload during the ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka, the team management and national selectors may rest Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja from the limited overs matches, starting August 20.
It is expected that pacer Mohammed Shami will also be rested from the ODI series as his workload needs to be monitored. Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad is in Kandy to track the performances while his colleague Devang Gandhi is in South Africa with the A team. They will be on conference call with third member Sarandeep Singh on August 13 to pick the squad. On expected lines, Jadeja and Ashwin have bowled 108.2 and 108.3 overs in the series so far taking 13 and 11 wickets respectively.
While Jadeja is suspended for the third Test, Ashwin will spearhead the attack and probably end the series bowling more than 150 overs. The likes Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Krunal Pandya could all be in contention while limited overs yorker specialist Jasprit Bumrah is a certainty. Team India faces a hectic schedule in the season ahead which finds them playing a plethora of limited-overs matches against Australia and New Zealand, with Sri Lanka lined up for a full return tour towards the end of the year.
In the New Year, the team will fly to South Africa and then play Independence Cup in Sri Lanka, before the 2018 IPL gets underway. With focus towards workload management, the upcoming ODI/T20 leg is in spotlight as well. The big talking point though is regarding skipper Virat Kohli. Word is that the skipper himself hasn’t asked for rest during the ODI series and is keen to play on.
However, the selectors might think alternately since he has played non-stop since returning during the IPL from shoulder injury and even went to the West Indies for the ODI tour after the Champions Trophy. As such, the team management has one eye on this never- ending schedule. It is in their consideration when the team’s practice and travel plans are charted out, particularly when on tour. In the West Indies last year, then coach Anil Kumble planned optional practice sessions two days before the start of a Test and a full practice session one day before the game.
Ravi Shastri is only too keen to follow this ‘Man Management’ model, but as always, he does things a tad differently.The new outline for the Indian team is to enjoy full practice sessions two days before the start of a Test. The day prior to the game is an optional session for all bowlers in the squad, with only batsmen in the final 12 expected to report for practice.
Ahead of the Pallekele Test, Thursday was an additional day available to the Indian team. As such there was a slight change in plans as Wednesday was a full practice session for all the members of the squad. The team underwent heavy drills in all aspects batting, bowling and fielding. On Friday, expectedly, the bowlers will be afforded some rest.
For the off day, Shastri and assistant coach Sanjay Bangar planned an optional team activity. A few team members, including skipper Virat Kohli as well as pacers Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma along with the support staff, took a day trip to Sri Seethai Amman temple, a three-hour scenic drive from Kandy/Pallekele. A few other members, including opener Abhinav Mukund who was involved in a social media controversy on Thursday, stayed back and enjoyed their third off in four days.