Team India plans all-format squad to travel to Australia

NEW DELHI: Indian teams for all three formats are likely to travel together to Australia from Dubai after the IPL. TOI has learnt that selectors will be asked to pick the three teams (for 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is and 4 Tests) together so that the squad could leave together in a bubble from Dubai.

This could mean that a gigantic squad of around 30 players would be landing in Australia at a time. This will help in smooth operation of the bio-bubble after the New South Wales government on Thursday finally agreed to Cricket Australia’s request of allowing the visiting team to train in the quarantine period.

READ ALSO: NSW government allows Indian team to train in quarantine during Australia tour

The Indian team will land in Sydney with the limited-overs leg of the tour due to start on Nov 27 and will be played in Sydney and Canberra. The Test series is slated to start with day-night Test in Adelaide on Dec 17 and will end in Brisbane (Jan 15-19).

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TOI has learnt that Test specialists like Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari have been ready to travel to Dubai in the next week. “There has been no date set. But Pujara, Vihari and the support staff are intimated that they should be ready to travel any day now,” a BCCI official told TOI.

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The idea behind having all three teams travelling together is that it will help the team to have enough resources for practice in quarantine. It is likely that quite a few players from the limited-overs squad will stay back for the Tests as well. “Vihari and Pujara have not played matches since the New Zealand tour in February. They will need a lot of practice. The support staff will have to spend a lot of time with them. And a large squad will also help in playing practice games by dividing them into two teams. Like the IPL teams, the Indian team will also like to have quality net bowlers in these times,” the official added.

There is no domestic cricket in India for the next two months. The NCA too can’t be overcrowded. The players from the Test team can stay in touch with the game while in Australia and it also gives the team management a lot more options for the limited-overs leg.

Ishant running out of time

India’s spearhead of the Test attack Ishant Sharma is running against time to get selected for the tour of Australia. TOI has learnt that Ishant has finally travelled to National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru from Dubai five days ago after sustaining a rib injury at Delhi Capitals two weeks ago. “It’s highly unlikely Ishant will be fit in time for the tour. He was happy that former India physio Patrick Farhart was looking after him at Capitals in Dubai. But since he is a BCCI-contracted player, he had to go to NCA,” the BCCI official said. Bhuvneshwar Kumar too is in doubt for the tour.

Doubts over Hardik

The selectors will also be in a fix over picking Hardik Pandya for the tour. India’s star allrounder hasn’t bowled in the ongoing IPL. “His bowling fitness is being monitored,” the source said. He did bowl in the nets in March before an ODI against South Africa in Dharamsala in March. The ODI was washed out due to rain and the series was called off due to the pandemic.

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