The Indian selectors led by chairman Chetan Sharma, who is currently in Kolkata for the T20 series against the West Indies, will be connecting with his colleagues who are on Ranji Trophy duty at various locations for team selection. It is expected that the squad will be announced in the next few days.
As per information available, Kohli could be given a short break from the bubble as the two Tests in Mohali (March 4-8) and Bangalore (March 12-16) will be followed by a direct bubble to bubble entry into various IPL squads.
However the good news for India is that Ravindra Jadeja has recovered from his knee injury that ruled him out of the South Africa and West Indies series.
“Jadeja is fit and available but Washington Sundar won’t play the Sri Lanka series. Also KL Rahul looks doubtful at least for the T20 series. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are although expected to be back after their much earned break,” a senior BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Shubman Gill’s current fitness status couldn’t be independently verified.
Decision on senior players
Wriddhiman Saha is not playing, Ishant Sharma apparently has had a change of heart while Ajinkya Rahane has scored a gritty hundred while Cheteshwar Pujara’s turn is still awaited in the ongoing Ranji Trophy.
There will be a lot of curiosity about the fate of the four veterans when selectors meet to pick the squad for Tests against Sri Lanka.
As of now, Rahane and Pujara still might be in contention as they are playing domestic cricket but whether Wriddhiman, after his refusal to play first-class cricket this season, gets the nod ahead of a much younger Kona Bharat is there to be seen.
It is believed that team management now wants to move on from soon to be 38 Wriddhiman and 33 and a half-year old Ishant.
As far as back-up pacers in Test squad are concerned, Prasidh Krishna is being billed as one for the future behind Bumrah, Shami and Mohammed Siraj while Bengal youngster Ishan Porel could be around the squad as a reserve after his consistent performances for Bengal and India A.
Among the middle-order batters, Hanuma Vihari, Shreyas Iyer will certainly get a look-in while Mayank Agarwal is expected to open alongside Rohit in case Rahul is unavailable for the Test matches.
In case Gill is available, he will be included as a specialist middle-order batter.
Mumbai’s Sarfaraz Khan has shown a lot of spunk in the last A tour and has followed up with a double hundred in Ranji Trophy. But whether he will be still in India A or at least pushed forward is a big question.
The three specialist spinners will be Ravichandran Ashwin, Jadeja and Jayant Yadav in all likelihood.