Selectors await Virat Kohli’s wrist injury report before naming squad for WI series
The national selectors — MSK Prasad, Devang Gandhi, Sarandeep Singh, Jatin Paranjape and Gagan Khoda — were expected to pick the squad for the two-Test series against West Indies on Wednesday, but an injury in regular skipper Virat Kohli’s wrist saw the selection process getting deferred with the team likely to be announced either on Saturday evening or Sunday — after a look at Kohli’s medical report.
Sources in the know of developments told Hindustan Times that Kohli’s MRI scan report should be available by evening and the team will be announced post that. “There was an informal meeting on Wednesday among the selectors and the team will be picked after the MRI scan report comes in. Should be done by tonight,” he said.
It has been learnt that fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are set to be rested for the Test series. While Bumrah has been playing non-stop cricket ever since making a comeback to the team during the third Test against England, Bhuvneshwar has played 5 games in a matter of around 10 days and considering the weather conditions in UAE, the pacer has gone through quite a bit of grind. The team doesn’t wish to take any chances with the Australia series round the corner.
It will be interesting to see if domestic run-machine Mayank Agarwal finally gets a go-ahead after being ignored by the national selectors over the past year. Interestingly, he hit a 90 on Saturday as Board President’s XI are playing West Indies in a two-day warm-up game. Sources have confirmed that while the selectors are toying with the idea of giving Mayank a go for the West Indies series, the matter needs to be discussed with the team management as well, keeping in mind the road ahead and the Australia tour in a couple of months.
If Mayank does get a look in, it will be interesting to see if the selectors drop Prithvi Shaw or go in with three openers in KL Rahul, Mayank and Shaw. Murali Vijay was dropped mid-way through the series in England and Prithvi Shaw drafted into the squad. The fight is between Mayank and the experienced Shikhar Dhawan for the third opener’s spot. But given the way Dhawan has been backed by the team management, despite his mediocre run in the longest format, Mayank might still have to wait for his chance.
R Ashwin meanwhile has cleared the fitness test and is ready to be a part of the team unless the selectors decide to rest him and play Yuzvendra Chahal in the games against West Indies. It is no secret that the team management wants to draft the leg-spinner into the squad for the longer format. The first Test against West Indies will be played in Rajkot from October 4 and the second Test will be played in Hyderabad from October 12.