The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recently announced a 20-member squad for the limited over series in Sri Lanka scheduled in mid-July. In the absence of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, who will be in UK for the England series, Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan has been named as the skipper of this series. BCCI has picked white-ball specialists for the Sri Lanka tour, with a balance of young and experienced players, alongside a few maiden call-ups. The Board has selected this 20-member squad keeping in mind the preparation of the T20 World Cup scheduled later this year. The team also stirred a debate regarding many Indian players not being considered for the tour, despite their phenomenal performances in domestic cricket.
One of the notable names missing from squad is left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat who had taken 67 wickets for Saurashtra in the last Ranji Trophy season, besides performing brilliantly for his IPL team Rajasthan Royals. While Unadkat 's former Saurashtra teammate Sheldon Jackson also doesn't find a spot in the squad. Jackson has been a consistent performer in the domestic circuit, scoring over 800 runs in the last two Ranji Trophy seasons. With 5,634 runs in 76 First-Class matches at an average of 49.22, Jackson is one of the best players in the Indian domestic circuit.
Sri Lanka tour is just an extension of India ‘A’ tours
The composition of the 20-member squad for Sri Lanka is similar to how India ‘A’ squads have been picked in recent years- focusing on young guns and giving them a platform to perform at the international stage, alongside a stable experienced core. Additionally, over the last 18 months, there haven’t been any India ‘A’ tournaments due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, it’s believed that the white-ball tour is an attempt to compensate for the lack of ‘A’ tours.
“There’s no point in playing players who have already played for India and have been in the domestic circuit for 8-10 years. These veterans will be only considered for India selections,” a BCCI source mentioned.
Hence, 4 players including Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana and Chetan Sakariya received their maiden call-ups following an impressive performance in IPL, with the intention to exposing the youngsters to a higher level with tougher training.