Rohit Sharma likely to be rested for part of ODI Series vs. Australia

The Indian selection committee may also hand recalls to KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane, keeping in mind the backup opener slot for the Cricket World Cup.
Rohit Sharma likely to be rested for part of ODI Series vs. Australia

Only seven international matches remain ahead of the World Cup as India enters the last leg of preparations in the upcoming limited-over series against a visiting Australian team.

With just a few World Cup spots up for grabs, the selectors are likely to rest some of the regulars from the upcoming ODI series against Australia starting later this month.

Rohit Sharma, who was the only batsman to feature in all the five series India played during the tours of Australia and New Zealand, may be rested for the home leg which includes two T20Is and five ODIs starting from February 24.

Captain Virat Kohli, who was rested midway through the New Zealand tour, is unlikely to have that luxury again, as the broadcasters may not like so many regulars missing in a season where India play only two series at home.

India is set to play the reigning world champions in five ODIs, which will be preceded by a two-match T20I series, starting February 24.

As it turns out, India is likely to rest Rohit Sharma for at least a part of the upcoming series to give him a much-needed break after the tours of Australia and New Zealand. In Virat Kohli's absence, Rohit had led the team in the absence of Virat Kohli, who was rested for the second half of India's 4-1 win in the ODI series and the subsequent T20I series. Kohli is likely to return for the upcoming assignment.

The selection committee and team management are on the same page when it comes to workload management. Recently, head coach Ravi Shastri had hinted that he will be monitoring the workload of players even during the Indian Premier League (IPL), starting March 23.

Pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested for the limited-over series in Australia and New Zealand, is likely to return to the squad while the selection committee, head by MSK Prasad, will take a call on the availability of wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.

Meanwhile, it is also expected that out-of-favor India batsmen, KL Rahul, and Ajinkya Rahane may get another chance to impress the selectors. India, it seems, is keen on taking a backup opener for the World Cup to England and one of Rahul and Rahane may get a ticket, considering their performances in the upcoming series and the IPL.

Meanwhile, World Cup-winning off-spinner Harbhajan Singh had opined India can afford to rest some of their senior players and give a chance to youngsters of the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal and Priyank Panchal.

"I don't think you need to put the best 11-13 players in play because they had a very long tour of Australia and New Zealand. If they are asked to play in India, it might be too much for their body and then there is IPL also. So it will be good if the senior players can be rested as much as possible," Harbhajan told India Today.

"Don't think only about the World Cup but there has to be cricket after that too and a look should be given to people who play after that and those will should be looked at. Some senior players should be rested and some young players should get the opportunity in India vs. Australia series and it should be a mix-and-match"

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