Agarkar to discuss World Cup roadmap, injuries, transition with Dravid-Rohit duo after West Indies Tests
Newly appointed men's selection head Ajit Agarkar will be chatting with head coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Rohit Sharma face to face to finalise India's roadmap for the 2023 World Cup, discuss the workload management for injury-recovering players and the ongoing transition phase.
Agarkar will be teaming up with the famed coach-captain duo ahead of the ODI series versus the West Indies starting July 27 upon the conclusion of the Test series. Salil Ankola, a member of the selection committee, is there in the Caribbean till the second Test in Trinidad but will be replaced by chief Agarkar for the limited-overs leg of the trip.
Once there, the former India quick will be engaging in thorough conversations with his ex teammates, with the World Cup in October-November being the main point of the agenda. The three will be finalising a core of 20 players which will make up the squad and the reserves for the 50-overs showpiece event at home.
Not many surprises are expected in the World Cup contingent, especially now that it is confirmed India will be travelling for the Asiad men's T20I event with an alternate squad under Ruturaj Gaikwad in September-October. But a cloud of uncertainty hovers on the participation of ace speedster Jasprit Bumrah and middle-order batters Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul.
Agarkar to finalise India's 2023 World Cup plans with Rohit-Dravid duo
A BCCI source privy to the developments revealed the plans for Agarkar to reach the Caribbean ahead of the One-Day series for multiple discussions with the coach and the captain. "Currently Salil Ankola is in the West Indies but he will be back after the Test series gets over. Ajit will be joining the team before the start of the white ball leg," the source told PTI at the conditions of anonymity.
During their conversations based on the World Cup, time will be spent on ascertaining in cohesion with the NCA coaches and physios when Bumrah, who is beginning to recover from a lower-back injury and has been bowling at full tilt over the past weeks, can return for international duties.
A final decision will be taken if the premier fast-bowler will be travelling for Ireland T20Is or not to warm-up before the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka. Even if Agarkar and the management give their nod of approval, however, NCA coaches will ascertain if Bumrah is now eligible for the Return to Play (RTP) certificate from the National Cricket Academy's Sport Science and Medical Unit.
Rahul, who too has just resumed batting in the nets, is unlikely to play till the Asia Cup. The selectors will have to determine if he, and Iyer, can be fit and ready for the World Cup despite minimal game time in the build-up. India have an ODI series versus Australia just after the Asia Cup and two warm-up matches scheduled prior to the World Cup.
Also part of the discussions will be the ongoing transition phase for life beyond the World Cup. While the previous selection committee and the management seem to have phased out multiple white-ball veterans and struggling Test players in the last year and a half, opinions maybe sought from skipper Rohit and Virat Kohli about their individual career plans after the 50-overs spectacle.