Iyer may get nod for Afghan Test

Ajinkya Rahane (left) is expected to be given the reins of captaincy, with Virat Kohli deciding to skip the Test against Afghanistan. AP/ PTI

In what’s going to be one of their biggest exercises, the Senior National Selection Committee will pick as many as six different Indian cricket teams, including the squad for the one-off Afghanistan Test next month, here on Tuesday.

Apart from the Test squad, the MSK Prasad-headed panel will meet here to finalise five other teams that are to tour the United Kingdom -- India ‘A’ team for tri-series involving England Lions and West Indies ‘A’, India ‘A’ team for three four-day matches, Indian squad for two T20Is against Ireland, T20I and one-day international squads against England.

India begin their long sojourn from June 27 against Ireland before moving to England for three T20Is and as many ODIs. The limited-overs engagements will be followed by a five-Test series.

With Virat Kohli set to turn up for Surrey in the month of June to give himself the best chance to succeed in English conditions, he will be missing the historic June 14-18 Test against Afghanistan, who make their debut in the longest format here at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. In the absence of Kohli, the captaincy mantle will be passed on to his deputy Ajinkya Rahane. However, contrary to rumours Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma, who are already playing in county cricket, will return to India and will be available for the Afghanistan Test. Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer, who was Kohli’s replacement in Dharamsala Test against Australia last year, is most likely to be included in the Test squad.    

The selectors, as had been revealed by CoA chief Vinod Rai earlier, will also pick at least half a dozen players who will travel to England in June as part of India ‘A’ squad to acclimatise themselves with the conditions ahead of the Test series which begins from August 1.

While it remains to be seen which of the pacers will be included in the A squad, it’s expected that openers KL Rahul, M Vijay, off-spinners R Ashwin and wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik will be part of it. Mumbai Indians left-arm spin all-rounder Krunal Pandya seems to have made a case for himself to be picked in the T20I squad as has Umesh Yadav who is one of the top-three wicket-takers in the ongoing IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore. The names of in-form batsmen like Iyer, his Delhi Daredevils’ mate Rishab Pant and Chennai Super Kings’ Ambati Rayudu too could be discussed for the shortest version against Ireland as Kohli will complete his stint with Surrey only by the end of June.

India U-19 captain Prithvi Shaw, his team-mates Shubman Gill and Shivam Mavi may find a place in the Rahul Dravid-coached India A team. The India ‘A’ tour of England will begin with an one-day tri-series from June 22. The team will play a four-day match against the Lions from July 16-19 at Worcester besides a couple of four-day games against West Indies.

DH News Service

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Iyer may get nod for Afghan Test

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