Deep Dasgupta, former India wicketkeeper-batsman said he believes opener Shikhar Dhawan is a strong contender for India captaincy for the proposed limited-overs series against Sri Lanka in July.
India is expected to field a squad dominated by white-ball specialists as the Test regulars, including captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, will be in England in July, preparing for the 5-Test series in August and September.
Deep Dasgupta: Shikar Dhawan Is An Option For Captaining Limited Overs Team In Absence Of Test Regulars
Deep Dasgupta, speaking to Sports Today, said an experienced bowler like Bhuvneshwar Kumar is also a good captaincy candidate for the limited-overs series comprising of 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is in Sri Lanka. BCCI last week announced a 20-member squad for the World Test Championship final, starting June 18, and the 5-Test series against England which will be played from August.
India has more than a month’s gap between the two assignments but the Test regulars are not going to return from England due to travel restrictions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly confirmed that India will be playing the white-ball series in July in Sri Lanka and details have emerged that it would be 3 ODIs and as many T20Is.
While Shikhar Dhawan was not in the reckoning for the Test side, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was not picked for the Test tour of England due to fitness concerns that have kept him away from the longest format of the game since 2018.
“Obviously, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul are not available. The senior-most player available in that side is Shikhar, so Shikhar (captaincy option) I guess,” Deep Dasgupta said.
“One of the questions was ‘who do I see captaining the side?’, I mentioned Shikhar, let’s not forget, if Bhuvneshwar is fit and ready to play, he is a good captain candidate as well for that series.”
The left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan has led Sunrisers Hyderabad in the past and given his experience, he could be considered for the role of the captain when India tour Sri Lanka. The 35-year old has the experience and that could work in his favour when the BCCI name the captain. In the IPL 2021 season, he showed good form with the bat by being the leading run-scorer before postponement and that would give him confidence.
Deep Dasgupta: England Conditions Might Have Helped Bhuvneshwar Kumar But He Hasn’t Played Tests For More Than 2 Years And Struggled With Fitness Post 2018
Meanwhile, Deep Dasgupta said he was not surprised when Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s name did not feature in the 20-man Test squad for the England tour. However, the cricketer-turned commentator and expert said the senior pacer’s availability will be a big boost to the side that will travel to Sri Lanka.
“I am not surprised. They have already got 6 fast bowlers (for England tour). I understand that those conditions might help Bhuvneshwar but he has not played red-ball cricket for 2 to 2 and half years. And he has struggled with his fitness post-2018,” he said.
“You don’t know whether his body will take playing 5-day cricket. As a bowler, if you’re playing, you might have to bowl 20 overs a day and come back the next day as well. I don’t know whether you want to take that chance.
“He hasn’t played red-ball cricket in Ranji Trophy as well. Also, I have a feeling that they had an idea that the Sri Lanka series might be there, you have someone like Bhuvneshwar there. You need some senior players,” Deep Dasgupta added.
While the Test regulars are set to leave for England in the first week of June after completing a week-long quarantine period, the BCCI is yet to announce the squad for the limited-overs series in Sri Lanka.
Probable Squad: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rahul Chahar, T Natarajan, Chetan Sakariya, Rahul Tewatia, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy
Also In Contention: Navdeep Saini, Khaleel Ahmed, Jaydev Unadkat, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Ravi Bishnoi