My Open Letter to BCCI.
From 11th of November to 24th of December 2017, you organised a 3 Test, 3 ODI and 3 T20 series between India and Sri Lanka. There were murmurs that there was a surfeit of India-Sri Lanka matches but you went ahead. We won the Test series 1 Nil and our skipper Virat Kohli piled up more than 600 runs and Ravi Ashwin took 12 wickets. We were happy at yet another series win. We then saw India win the ODI series 2-1 and the T20 Series 3 Nil. We were happier.
However a thought lingered at the back of the mind. Did this affect preparations for the important forthcoming overseas series to South Africa. After all South Africa especially for Tests is acknowledged to be one of the toughest propositions. India had never won a test series there, and yet India was going to play the 1st Test of such a tough series without a single day of match practice. India quickly lost the 1st 2 Tests and therefore the series but then thankfully pulled one test back with a super win. We were relieved since a 1-2 loss is better than a 0-3 loss. India then won the ODI series 5- 1 and we were even more happy. The Test series quickly became for some a distant memory. However the long tour was not over. A 3 match India South Africa T20 series would have to be played which would be followed by some much needed rest before the IPL would start in April followed by the all important tour to England. Or so it was thought.
However, no, instead of the rest and recuperation India, in March is going to play the 2018 Nidahas Cricket Tournament which is organised to celebrate Sri Lanka’s 70th year of Independence. It will be a 3 Nation T20 series between India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Both teams will play each other twice with the top 2 teams progressing to the final.
The query obviously arises as to whether this series is important from the point of view of Test cricket, from the players point of view and from the point of view of fans. From Test cricket point of view, India does have some players who play all the formats of the game and most of them would be playing the IPL too. Will this help for the forthcoming tough Test series to England. India has a potent bowling attack and just as they had never won a series in South Africa and had a realistic chance of doing so ( but could not), similarly they have a realistic chance of winning their 1st series in England since 1986. Will this series help to attain that objective?
From players point of view, will it help hone their skill sets. All the matches will be played at Colombo so it will certainly help them develop a domain knowledge about the city, but how will it help them as players? What about fans? Will a surfeit of cricket not make them disenchanted from the wonderful game?
BCCI, please have a thought at the answers to these questions.
At the same time BCCI, Why not convert this to an opportunity.
Why dont u go in for a brand new team to give exposure to players who have not had a feel of international cricket or those who have not made a permanent place for themselves in the regular Indian team.
For a start, you can certainly think about giving regulars like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jaspreet Bmraah a much needed break.
Chance can be given to youngsters like say Rishabh Pant or Sanju Samson to have a glimspse as to whether they are ready to fill in the shoes of MS Dhoni. Jayadev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur can get a chance to start as the new ball bowlers and Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar patel can continue to play as spinners with Hardik Pandya getting a chance to rediscover his form . Lokesh Rahul and Shreyas Iyer can get a chance to show they deserve a spot in the regular team. This series could even be an opportunity to blood some youngsters into the national team.
Yes Sri Lanka Cricket Board will cry foul, they will say you have to send your strong team. Since they have been good and obliging neighbours, probably you would not like to ruffle their feathers but then you have to think about the interests of Indian cricket and Indian players first.
Dear BCCI, please convert this needless tour into an opportunity,
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