New Delhi, Nov 9: The All India Senior Selection Committee has announced revised India squads for all three formats ahead of the upcoming tour of Australia, starting later this year. The Virat Kohli-led side is supposed to leave from the UAE for the Australian shores after some practise sessions in the ICC Academy in Dubai post conclusion of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.
The highly-anticipated bilateral series involving ODIs, T20Is and Tests will begin on November 27 with an ODI at Sydney Cricket Ground. The first T20I will be at Manuka Oval, Canberra, on December 4, while the first Test will start at the Adelaide Oval on December 17. India will play 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is and 4 Tests against Australia on the tour - which is going to last nearly a month.
With the latest announcement, the BCCI, as well as the selectors, have put to rest several questions which were set to become a headache for the team management once they begin preparations for their first international assignment post-COVID19 lockdown.
Here are the major takeaways from the latest announcement from the All India Senior Selection Committee:
Kohli to return India: Captain Virat Kohli will be participating and leading the Men In Blue in the limited-overs teams but the 32-year-old cricketer will return home after playing the opening Test between the two countries at Adelaide Oval, starting December 17. It will be a Pink-Ball Test between the two teams and will be the first occasion when Team India will be playing a Day-Night Test outside their home. Team India played their maiden Pink Ball Test against Bangladesh last year at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Kohli and his team won that game quite convincingly.
The India captain had south paternity leave from the BCCI as he and his actor wife Anushka Sharma are expecting their first child in the month of January next year. Kohli wants to be with his wife and the newly born baby.
This also means that Ajinkya Rahane will be leading the national side in the remainder of Test series against Australia. Kohli's absence would definitely make it tough for the Indian team to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which Virat Kohli & Co. won 2-1 back in 2019 in Australia, for the right-handed batsman is one of the best batsmen against the Aussies.
Hitman is back: The suspense over Rohit Sharma not getting a chance in any format for the tour Down Under has finally been lifted. The 33-year-old opener - who was not included in the first list of the squad due to an injury during an IPL match - has been rested for the limited-overs series. However, the senior pro will join the squad later for the Test series. Rohit will have to shoulder the responsibility of strengthening Team India in Kohli's absence. However, it will be interesting to see if the Mumbaikar will bat as an opener or in the middle-order.
Unlucky Chakravarthy, Natarajan gets rewarded: Varun Chakravarthy, the spinner from Tamil Nadu, who got his maiden India call-up after getting included in the T2) squad has been ruled out of the tour due to injury. The Kolkata Knight Riders' spinner grabbed a lot of limelight with his performance in the cash-rich league.
Chakravarthy's loss was Tamil Nadu pacer T Natarajan's gain. Natarajan - who plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL - impressed one and all with his impeccable bowling. The uncapped player's ability to bowl yorkers at will and in the right areas garnered him a lot of praise throughout the tournament. The left-arm pacer has finally been rewarded for his superlative performance in the IPL 2020.
Another chance for Samson: Kerala cricketer Sanju Samson - who had an eventful IPL 2020 which was full of ups and downs for him - has been included in the ODI team as back-up wicketkeeper-batsman.
BCCI watchful about Ishant and Saha: Call on Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha at a later date. The Test match specialists will be leaving for Australia for the Test series Down Under at a later date. While Ishant is undergoing rehab at the NCA, Saha's fitness is being monitored by the BCCI medical team.