India’s much awaited Test series against England after the World Test Championship final begins on August 4 and India finally get a practice game before the Test series - which is seen as the final frontier for Team India after their series wins in Australia (excluding the World Test Championship final).
India’s last three Test series in England has been dismisal with 4-0 whitewash in 2011, 3-1 loss in 2014 and 4-1 in 2018. Their last Test series win there came way back in 2007 under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy and this is one acid test Virat Kohli & Co have to pass. Playing in English conditions is totally different compared to the bouncy Australian tracks as the Dukes ball swings even after 50 overs and moreover, the overhead conditions also has a big say in how the day or the session pans out.
India play five Test matches in a span of 45 days - which is going to take a toll especially on the fast bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Ishant Sharma - who will be in the playing XI unless India play two spinners in Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja - which depends on the conditions. Moreover, batsmen like Rohit Sharma, Kohli and Rishabh Pant will also be part of this important series as India would like to play their best batsman for this all important series.
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The point which I am trying to come is that out of seven players mentioned above, the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Siraj will also be playing a major part for their respective franchises - as well as might be in the thick of things when the T20 World Cup happens soon after the IPL.
The IPL begins on September 19, which is five days after India finish their last Test match in England on September 14 and they fly down to the UAE to play the remaining 31 games of the IPL which were suspended.
Once the IPL gets over on October 10, the T20 World Cup begins on October 17. The Super-12 matches start on October 24 in the UAE, so Indian players will get a break of maximum 13 days before their World T20 games start in the UAE. How does Kohli and Team India manage the strenuous three months of cricket?
The England series, the IPL and then the T20 World Cup - none of which Kohli has won. How does he manage the workload of his six main players: Rohit, Rishabh, Bumrah, Shami, Jadeja, Siraj and he himself who will play a major role in the all three of them. Which series does he give priority to?
We all know the fitness level of Kohli and that he is the best in the world but will the rest of the players be able to cope up to it? Your guess is as good as mine.
- Cricket enthusiast and businessman Anis Sajan is the Vice Chairman of Danube Group