The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selection committee is mulling to rest some of the key members of the team, including captain Virat Kohli, for the upcoming T20I tri-series in Sri Lanka, starting March 6 in Colombo.
The Men in Blue will take on Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the tri-series, which will be played to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the host nation's independence.
While they are expected to consider Kohli's decision before making the call on his availability, the selectors are keen on giving pace bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar a break following their heavy workloads in South Africa.
"If Virat wants to rest, he will get it. In Virat's case, it is he who decides on whether he would like to opt out or not. But you never know he might just want to play the T20 series as this is the last tourney of the season," a top BCCI official said, as quoted by the Times of India.
Kohli was rested for the limited-overs leg of Sri Lanka's tour to India last year. The Delhi batsman had tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend and Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma in Italy during the break.
In his absence, Rohit Sharma had led the team to wins in both the three-match ODI and T20I series. The Mumbai Indians captain is likely to lead the side once again if Kohli chooses to opt for rest.
Much-needed breaks for Bumrah, Kumar?
Meanwhile, Bumrah was rested for the second T20I against South Africa, which India lost by six wickets on Wednesday, February 21. The 24-year-old fast bowler, who made his Test debut in the Cape Town Test last month, has bowled 158.1 overs, which is the highest among bowlers from either side in the ongoing tour.
On the other hand, Kumar, who has also evolved into an all-format bowler, has played two Tests, five ODIs and two T20Is on the tour. Apart from his bowling workload, the right-hander has also been contributing consistently with the bat.
India will be looking forward to using the services of young pacers Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur in the absence of Bumrah and Kumar in Sri Lanka. Yorker specialist Basil Thampi, who was part of the Indian squad during last year's Sri Lanka series at home, is likely to make another comeback.
Mayank Agarwal on selectors' radar
Karnataka's Mayank Agarwal is likely to earn a national call-up, given his extraordinary form in the ongoing domestic season. The right-hander has hit eight centuries, including a triple ton across Ranji Trophy and the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Notably, the Indian selection committee chairman had watched Agarwal's match-winning ton in the Vijay Hazare Trophy quarter-final against Hyderabad in New Delhi on Wednesday, according to the report.
The selectors are keeping in mind the players' commitments with their respective IPL franchises as the Asian giants will tour England a month after the 11th edition of the cash-rich league. The idea is to keep the players injury-free ahead of the much-anticipated tour, starting July 3 in Manchester.