One had thought Shreyas Iyer may be tried out, but the think-tank thought it prudent to give the Mumbai batter more time to recover from the back spasm he had suffered a few days ago.
Virat Kohli carries drinks during yesterday’s India v B’desh match at Colombo. Pic/Getty Images
It is not the first time that Virat Kohli has been rested for an ODI match in recent times. When the Indian XI was revealed at the toss for the last Super 4 match against Bangladesh, there were as many as five changes from the previous game against Sri Lanka. The most conspicuous was Kohli’s name. There is no doubt that the match was inconsequential as India and Sri Lanka have already made it to Sunday’s Asia Cup final and it was a good opportunity to give the benched players a chance.
Before the toss, Kohli hardly participated in the warm-up activity and preferred to play football on his own and even went on to meet former India head coach Ravi Shastri, who is here as a commentator. He had a long chat with Shastri near the boundary. At that time itself it looked like the team management might rest him to give benched players a chance. One had thought Shreyas Iyer may be tried out, but the think-tank thought it prudent to give the Mumbai batter more time to recover from the back spasm he had suffered a few days ago.
The team management put out a one-line statement that said, “Iyer has shown improvement, but he is not fully fit.” That means Shreyas will not be seen in the final too and the earliest he could get a chance is in the three-match ODI series against Australia back home next week to check out if he can last out the tough World Cup schedule where India are set to play nine league matches in nine cities all over the country.
Misses ODIs v WI too
Coming back to Kohli, as mentioned earlier, it was not the first time he has been rested for the ODIs. On the recent tour of West Indies, Kohli didn’t play the last two ODIs of the three-match series. But, it must be said here that captain Rohit Sharma too had opted out of both these matches and Hardik Pandya led the team in his absence. India went on the win the series 2-1.
Head coach Rahul Dravid had said after the West Indies ODI series: “We have to try out other players as in worst case scenario where there are injuries, at least these young players will have game time and it also gives us the opportunity to make some decision on players. In a series where there are just two or three matches to go, playing Rohit and Virat would not have given us many answers.”
Debut for Tilak Varma
As yet, there has been no statement as to why the star batter has been rested after he had scored a scintillating century against Pakistan and was dismissed cheaply against Sri Lanka. We can only presume that since Shreyas Iyer has been injury-prone, the team management wanted to give debutant Tilak Varma a chance in case Iyer does not recover completely before the World Cup.
The decision to rest Hardik Panday, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav is understandable as the team management wants them fresh for Sunday’s final. This has given opportunity to the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur and Prasidh Krishna, besides Varma, so that they have game-time in case any one of them is required to fill in due to unforeseen injuries.