India fielding two different squads in different locations due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic can become a norm as it allows more bilateral cricket and some respite to all-format players from bio-bubble fatigue, said Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer Arun Dhumal on Wednesday.
In a rare instance, Shikhar Dhawan will be leading a second string Indian team in Sri Lanka next month when the Virat-Kohli-led side will be in England ahead of the Tests against England. Kohli has already spoken about the need to give players a break from the bubble life besides managing their workload.
“It is a definite possibility that India could play another limited overs tour with a younger squad while the main team players are playing elsewhere or need a break. The COVID-19 related restrictions also need to be factored in," Dhumal told PTI.
“It (two India squads) also shows the solid bench strength of the Indian team and gives us an opportunity to organise more bilateral cricket and help other boards which are facing financial challenges amid the pandemic.
“It is imperative to come up with new ideas to deal with the loss of bilateral cricket that has happened over the last 18 months," he said.
India have picked as many as six uncapped players for the Sri Lanka tour comprising three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals from July 13. All games will be played in Colombo.
Talking about women’s cricket, for which BCCI has often faced criticism, Dhumal said the board is taking all the necessary steps to grow the game in the country.
“Women’s cricket has come a long way after it came under the aegis of BCCI. The sport will grow even more in the future and the board will leave no stone unturned to give more exposure and opportunity to budding women cricketers," he asserted.
“The board has already made a conscious attempt to give them substantial game time before the World Cup (next year) with tours of England and Australia lined up.
“We are also really happy to see them playing Tests again and wish the players the very best."
However, he said it would be tough to slot in the Women’s Challenge during the IPL as the team is scheduled to play three ODIs, a pink ball Test and three T20Is in Australia from September 19 when the second half of IPL begins.
The players will also have to do a 14-day quarantine upon their arrival in Australia. “With the way schedule stands, it is tough to find a window for the Women’s Challenge during the IPL," said Dhumal.