Amidst preparations for the upcoming Afghanistan series and the impending T20 World Cup in June, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is facing sleepless nights. According to reports, BCCI Chief Selector Ajit Agarkar is scheduled to engage in crucial discussions with Captain Rohit Sharma, Head Coach Rahul Dravid, and star batsman Virat Kohli during the ongoing second Test in South Africa.
After the conclusion of the South Africa Test, Team India will shift focus to their last T20I series against Afghanistan, scheduled between January 11 and 17. The selection committee, led by Agarkar, faces a challenging task of finalizing the squad for this crucial series, raising the pivotal question of whether Kohli and Rohit Sharma will make their return to the T20 format and make themselves available for the T20 World Cup.
Both Kohli and Rohit have been absent from T20Is since November 2022, following India’s semifinal exit in the T20 World Cup. While their primary focus shifted to the ODI format, discussions arose regarding their participation in the T20 series against South Africa. However, the duo extended their break, prompting speculations about their intentions for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
According to a recent PTI report, Kohli and Rohit have expressed their eagerness to be part of the ICC event in June. The BCCI selectors, including Shiv Sunder Das and Salil Ankola, are expected to consult with Head Coach Rahul Dravid, Captain Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli before finalizing the squad for the Afghanistan series.
Despite this clarity, it remains uncertain whether Kohli and Rohit will actively participate in the Afghanistan series. With the impending five-match Test series against England starting from January 25, it is unlikely that they would extend their T20 commitments beyond a couple of matches, even if selected.
The report also suggests that the Afghanistan series might not provide all the answers regarding India’s final squad for the T20 World Cup. Instead, close to 25-30 players will be closely monitored during the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) season to make the decisive selections. “Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya aren’t fit. The Afghanistan series won’t tell you anything. Everything will be decided on the basis of the first month of IPL,” revealed a senior BCCI source under conditions of anonymity.