The Indian selection panel, led by Ajit Agarkar, is likely to go for a 17-member squad for the upcoming Asia Cup in order to check out all possible options ahead of the ODI World Cup, starting October 5. It is also learnt that BCCI is bucking the convention for the first time and head coach Rahul Dravid will also be present in his official capacity during the meeting scheduled in the national capital on Monday morning. It can be confirmed that neither Ravi Shastri nor Anil Kumble were part of selection meetings during their tenure as national coach.
But it must be mentioned that unlike Cricket Australia, where chief coach is a part of NSP (National Selection Panel), in India, neither coach nor captain has a right to vote.
It is still not confirmed whether both skipper Rohit Sharma and Dravid will attend the meeting physically or join through video conference.
With key players — KL Rahul (thigh) and Shreyas Iyer (lower back) yet to prove their fitness, the BCCI brass and selectors could opt for a safer options that gives them an opportunity to check all available players in the five (six if they reach final) Asia Cup games in Sri Lanka.
The Asian Cricket Council has kept provision for 17-member squads for Asia Cup. Accordingly Pakistan, Bangladesh have all picked 17-member squads.
“There is a possibility of picking the provisional 15-member squad for the World Cup which needs to be submitted by September 5 but one could make changes as the deadline for final squad is September 27,” a BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
“For Asia Cup, a couple of more players could be picked.” The PTI has already reported on Friday that Rahul is nearing full fitness while a report in ESPNCricinfo stated that Iyer had batted for 38 overs and fielded for 50 overs in a warm-up game at the NCA.
While left-handed batting sensation Tilak Varma will be discussed at the meeting, it is still not sure if he could find a place in final 15 in case both Iyer and Rahul are deemed fit.
Ditto for Sanju Samson, who could miss out on a final 15 berth as Surykumar Yadav with better finishing abilities could take the additional batter’s slot if both senior players (Rahul and Iyer) are fit and available for selection.
While Ravichandran Ashwin’s name is doing rounds for World Cup, sheerly on basis of his skill-sets, a former national selector wondered why wasn’t Ashwin asked to stay back in the West Indies after Test series and check his white ball form in the ensuing ODIs.
“If you could play Axar at No. 4, why couldn’t you pick Ash just to check him out as he could be lethal in Indian conditions? Why pick him directly in Asia Cup, if at all?,” a member of previous selection committee asked.
India’s likely 17-member squad (including provisional 15 for Sept 5 deadline): Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul (wk, subject to fitness), Shreyas Iyer (subject to fitness), Hardik Pandya (VC), Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohmmed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishan Kishan (2nd wk), Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Yuzvendra Chahal/R Ashwin.
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