Tour of Windies, the start of new World Cup cycle

The only two new faces — right-arm pacer Navdeep Saini and leggie Rahul Chahar — will be more than keen on continuing their IPL and India A exploits in the India jersey.

Shreyas Iyer (left) was in contention for a middle-order slot for the World Cup before inexplicably falling off the radar.   -  FILE PHOTO/ AFP

 

After an intense spell of ODI action on either side of the Indian Premier League (IPL), many would have thought that all-format regulars would be given a break for the limited overs’ leg of India’s tour of West Indies starting August 3.

But seven of the 15 cricketers who boarded a flight on Monday night for the three-match Twenty20 series were part of India’s World Cup campaign.

The next couple of weeks will be vital for the remaining eight faces who were on the fringes for a while. All of them will be eager to make a statement as India start its long road of preparation ahead of the next year’s World Twenty20 to be played in Australia in October 2020.

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The club of eight can be broken down into a variety of sub-groups. Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey were in contention for a middle-order slot for the World Cup before inexplicably falling off the radar; Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar have been tried out earlier as the spin-bowling all-rounder in T20Is; and Khaleel Ahmed and Deepak Chahar have been back-up seamers in white-ball cricket for more than a year now.

The only two new faces — right-arm pacer Navdeep Saini and leggie Rahul Chahar — will be more than keen on continuing their IPL and India A exploits in the India jersey. Captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma’s presence will be a huge boost for the relatively young bunch. The senior pros will keep a close watch on the newcomers.

The West Indies tour also marks the beginning of the new World Cup cycle in ODIs. Kohli had no qualms in admitting it on Monday evening.

“From the point of view of us not making it to the final of the World Cup and bowing out (in the semis), I think it is an important time to regroup and come together as a side,” Kohli said.

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“There is a T20 World Cup next year, there is always something to look forward. I know we were all disappointed with not going through to the final and probably winning the World Cup. But you have to move on and you to have accept defeat as well and move forward and look forward to new things.

“It is an opportunity for them to establish their skill sets, for me as a captain to have new players in the side and get them together. I think international cricket always presents you with opportunities and challenges which I always look forward to.”