The BCCI on June 10, 2021, picked the Indian squad that would be touring Sri Lanka in July. This would be the first time two Indian international men’s teams would be playing simultaneously. The main squad is already in the UK having played the World Test Championship finals and preparing for the 5 match test series in August.
Due to the ongoing Covid pandemic and the stringent quarantine rules, the team will not be returning after the WTC finals and will continue to be in the UK for the test series. Hence, the BCCI had to pick a second team to tour Sri Lanka in July for the white ball series. The squad reflects the obvious picks in the form of Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, and Hardik Pandya along with the upcoming IPL stars.
However, we would be covering 4 notable names who would not be boarding the flight.
Vijay Shankar had made a rather surprising entry into the Indian team for the 2019 World Cup leaving a lot of cricket pundits scratching their heads. It seemed as if India were looking at him as a No. 4 option with handy pace bowling. Unfortunately, Shankar hasn’t been able to consolidate his position in the Indian side and was soon out of the white-ball team. Even his 2020 and 2021 IPL performances haven’t been eye-catching. With Hardik Pandya back in the squad, the selectors chose to go with specialist pacers and a variety of spin bowling options.
The last time India toured Sri Lanka for Nidahas Trophy, Karthik played an absolute blinder of an innings to salvage a victory for India out of nowhere. The video of that innings on YouTube has gone onto break all existing records. The relatively young team would have had an experienced senior player in the form of Karthik had he been picked. The selectors have gone with Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan as their wicket-keeping choice. Keeping Karthik’s age in mind and recent IPL exploits, it’s understandable why the selectors have overlooked him for younger players.
It feels like that the selectors have consciously picked players that they see a future in and hence, Patel may have missed a spot. With Saini, Chahar, and Sakariya’s selection, the selectors have used this tour as an avenue to give the younger players an international experience. Patel’s age may have been the veto in this case. But since IPL was the barometer for selection, it’s a bit of a surprise that the incumbent purple cap holder did not find a place in the squad. On the slower Sri Lankan pitches, his cutters could have been a substantial weapon in the team armory.
Unadkat who plays for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL did not find himself in the squad that left for Sri Lanka. His past few seasons in the domestic circuit have been splendid. He has captained Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy and has led them spectacularly in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. Over the years, his IPL form has been so-so. He was dropped from the playing XI in 2020 but made a worthy comeback in 2021. He could have been a senior player with plenty of variations on the slow Sri Lankan pitches.
Another left-arm pacer looked over is Ahmed. The lanky Rajasthan pacer has played 14 T20s and 11 ODIs in his short career but could definitely be an exciting prospect for India. He was a regular starter for SRH in IPL but since 2018, his opportunities have dried up there too. This tour could have been the perfect opportunity for the pacer to revitalize his career. However, Ahmed has been overlooked and the young Sakariya has been given a go-ahead. From the looks of it, it seems the Board has gone for young blood keeping in mind the future.