Resting Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah for Sri Lanka ODIs a bad idea: Here's why | Crickit
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Resting Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah for Sri Lanka ODIs a bad idea: Here's why

Jul 10, 2024 06:52 AM IST

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah have reportedly requested a longer break after the gruelling last three months, with an aim to prioritise Test cricket

Barring the trio of Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson and Shivam Dube, the remainder of India's victorious T20 World Cup side are currently on a break from international action. While most of the lot from the latter section will return to action later this month for the white-ball tour of Sri Lanka, which begins on June 27, the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah will reportedly be rested, which could turn out be a risky call with the BCCI targeting a Champions Trophy haul next February.

India's captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah pose for a group picture after Team India wins the ICC Mens T20 World Cup 2024 final(BCCI-X)
India's captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah pose for a group picture after Team India wins the ICC Mens T20 World Cup 2024 final(BCCI-X)

India will play three T20Is and three ODIs in the tour of Sri Lanka. Kohli and Rohit retired from the shortest format after India's T20 World Cup win on June 29. Hence, they were expected to be back for back in action for the ODI series, which will begin on August 2. However, a report on PTI indicated that the two veteran batters, along with Bumrah, requested a longer break from cricket after the gruelling last three months, which included the 2024 IPL season, with an aim to prioritise their focus on Test cricket.

"Both are automatic choices in ODI set up, and the three 50-over games against England before the Champions Trophy is good enough practice for them. For next few months, they both will prioritise Tests and India will play 10 of them between September to January," a BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity, with the report further adding that the selectors are on board with the decision.

Will BCCI make the right call in resting Kohli, Bumrah and Rohit for the Sri Lanka ODIs?

The Champions Trophy is all set to return to international cricket in 2025 after eight years. It last played in 2017, when Pakistan beat India in the final. It is reportedly set to start from February 19 onwards in Pakistan. Ahead of the tournament, which will be in the 50-over format, India will play just six ODIs—three against Sri Lanka next month and three against England at home between February 6 and 12.

Amid the dearth of game time in the format, having India's full-strength squad in both contests would only be logical. Moreover, BCCI on Tuesday announced the new head coach for the Indian team, whose first assignment will be the Sri Lanka tour, and the first major task will be to reclaim the Champions Trophy after 12 years. For the new coach Gautam Gambhir, to get the best perspective early on in his tenure in preparation for the ICC tournament, he needs his three best players to play all six matches.

Besides the white-ball campaigns, India will play 10 Test matches this year in a bid to qualify for the WTC final for the third time. India play 2 Tests versus Bangladesh in late September, followed by three against New Zealand between October 16 and 28 before the big-ticket five Test Border Gavaskar Trophy against Australia Down Under starting November 22.

With no red-ball fixture until September 19, shouldn't BCCI push for their participation in the ODI series against Sri Lanka?

Kohli and Rohit had previously missed all the T20Is between the 2022 T20 World Cup and the end of 2023. They did return to action, amid questions over their future in the format, for the home series against Afghanistan, where Kohli played only two innings while Rohit appeared in all three matches. That was India's final T20I series in preparation for the World Cup in the USA and the West Indies. But the two did have the whole of the IPL 2024 season to adjust to the format before leaving for the tournament. The two, including Bumrah, don't have that luxury in the ODI format.

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