Virat Kohli and his boys will be on the road for a long time from June onwards. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
Players want longer time at home; selectors to pick jumbo squad today
NEW DELHI: As the Indian cricket board (BCCI) completes the process of safely sending foreign IPL players home, it has now started working on revising the logistics for the Indian team’s departure for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and a five-Test series in England.
The jumbo squad of over 25 players is expected to be picked today. The women’s team for the tour of England will also be picked. Both teams will travel together, it was learnt.
TOI understands that BCCI will be trying to negotiate the mandatory two weeks of hard quarantine upon arrival in England. The WTC final starts on June 18 in Southampton.
According to sources, BCCI is likely to propose a one-week hard quarantine as they aim to create a bubble in India before the team’s departure. “The idea is to get the players to quarantine in India itself. The team anyway is likely to travel in charter flight since there are travel restrictions in UK,” a BCCI source told TOI on Thursday.
There is a line of thought that the players would need around eight to ten days to train and acclimatize in England before the final. That means the team needs to be out of quarantine by June 9. The Australian government had relaxed quarantine regulations for the Indian team when it reached Sydney in November last year. The team was allowed to practice in a bubble.
Sources say Indian players are willing to get into the bubble in India itself to avoid prolonged quarantine in UK. “There are a lot of players who have been in bubbles and quarantines for eight-nine months now. It is likely to take a toll on them mentally. They are fine with getting into a bubble early in India and then the BCCI may offer a bubble-to-bubble movement scenario. But the negotiation will be tougher this time since the team will be leaving from India unlike from Dubai when they toured Australia,” the source said.
“This will also give them some more time with their families. And mind you, there is a long season coming till the T20 World Cup in November. If the IPL happens in the window between the Test series in England and the T20 World Cup, it’s going to be a very long time in a bubble for the Indian players,” the source said.
If the BCCI manages to convince the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the authorities in UK, then the team may assemble between May 21-24. And if they are made to go through the two-week quarantine in UK, then the players will have to be assembled in the third week of May.
PRITHVI, ISHAN ON THE RADAR
Since the selectors have to pick two teams for the England tour, Prithvi Shaw and Ishan Kishan may just get on the flight. The selectors will essentially pick India and India ‘A’ teams since they are going to play their warm-up matches between themselves. Prithvi has been in red-hot form in domestic cricket after being dropped in Australia. It will be interesting to see if the selectors decide to give him another go even if it is for the ‘A’ team. Devdutt Padikkal is also in the running while Ishan could be looked as a backup wicketkeeper to Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha.
INDIAN TEAM MAY HAVE TO TAKE COVISHIELD
The Indian players, picked to travel to UK, may have to take the Covishield vaccine. The players don’t have much time to get both shots in India. “It is advised that they take Covishield in India because it is based on the AstraZeneca vaccine, a UK product. They may get the second shot in UK. Getting a different vaccine here is of no use,” the source said.