India is all set to tour neighbors Sri Lanka during the second half of July. The men in blue will be playing three T20 Internationals and as many ODIs in the island nation. The fact that the the tour coincides with India’s tour England means the big guns in Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma along with others will be busy in the a marquee five-match Test series.
This poses a big question for the BCCI, who will be leading India’s limited-overs specialists on the tour. The absence of Shreyas Iyer is what has brought forth the dilemma. Iyer has been ruled out of action with a dislocated shoulder and hence isn’t likely to be available for selection. The Mumbai batsman would have been the perfect player to lead the side given his exploits in the IPL.
“It is still not clear if Shreyas will recover fully and will be match-fit in time for tour of Sri Lanka. Normally, a surgery of this scale along with rest, extensive rehab and training to get back in shape takes around four months,” a senior BCCI source privy to selection matters told PTI. “In case Shreyas was available, he would have been the automatic choice for captaincy.”
Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya front runners for captaincy
In absence of the top guns, Shikhar Dhawan is naturally the first choice for captain’s job. Barring seniority, Dhawan’s sublime form off late too makes him the front runner. Dhawan was all set to breach the 500 run mark for the second consecutive IPL season and has been a regular feature in the side for almost a decade.
“Shikhar has had two very good IPL including this curtailed one and being the senior most among those who are available for selection, he is a very strong contender. Also he has been a solid performer for India for past eight years,” an official said.
The second name in the pecking order is that of hard hitting all-rounder Hardik Pandya. While a back injury has not allowed him to take the ball regularly, he has been contributing heavily with the bat. Pandya’s ability as an “impact player” could prompt the management to give him some added responsibilities.
“Yes, Hardik hasn’t been regularly bowling for MI or India in recent times. However, he is the man with x-factor and among options available. He is miles ahead of his peers in terms of being an impact performer. And who knows, may be extra responsibility brings the best out of him.”