NEW DELHI: Apart from Virat Kohli, several top Indian cricketers are set to miss the inaugural Test match against Afghanistan in Bengaluru. With the BCCI focusing on the England tour, some second-string players who were part of the team which won the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka could get the chance to play against the Afghans, sources close to the Committee of Administrators (CoA) said on Friday.
TOI had reported in mid-February that some top players including Kohli could miss the Test against the Afghans. It is now emerging that players like Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah could also miss the Test.
“Test specialists are set to travel to UK for early acclimatization. Everyone has hailed it as good planning on part of the CoA. Isn’t it more important for India to prepare for the Test in England than fielding the maximum firepower against Afghanistan?” said an official.
Kohli and Ashwin have signed to play in England after IPL while Pujara and Ishant, who are without IPL contracts, are already playing in the County Championship there. “There is clear understanding that those playing in the County Championship should stay back in England, while another batch of three to four regular Test cricketers could go with the India A team under Rahul Dravid to get used to the conditions there. The focus is on ensuring that all the regular Test batsmen get good practice in England before the Test series begins,” said the source, indicating that at least six to nine regular cricketers could miss the Test.
If need be, there is also an idea to fly in or fly out a few cricketers around the Afghanistan Test.