ICC WTC Finals: With the IPL 2021 suspended and players returning to their homes from IPL’s bio-bubble, BCCI has already started planning for the next bubble before Virat Kohli’s Team India departs for the World Test Championship finals that will be played against New Zealand from June 18 in Southampton in England. As per a BCCI official, India women’s team who will play a one-off Test, 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is, will also be kept in the bubble and will travel together with the men’s team.
BCCI is currently negotiating the 14-day hard quarantine in England as India has been put under the red list’ by the UK government. With players under bio-bubble in India, BCCI wants the quarantine to be reduced to seven days in the UK. BCCI is also expected to pick a large 25-member squad for the ICC WTC Finals on Friday.
“The idea is to get the players to quarantine in India itself. The team anyway is likely to travel in charter flight since there are travel restrictions in the UK,” a BCCI source told TOI.
ICC WTC Finals: India aim 10-day practice to acclimatize to England conditions
Virat Kohli & Co will take on Kane Williamson’s New Zealand from June 18 in Southampton. But with India playing England in India and then the IPL on home soil, they believe they need at least 10 days to acclimatize to English conditions.
On the other hand, many New Zealand players will be in England by May 11 to play two Tests besides a four-day practice match from May 25. Hence, they will have a head-start to acclimatize to the conditions. That’s the reason why BCCI is asking for a 7-day quarantine instead of 14. When India toured Australia late last year, the Aussie government relaxed rules for Indian players to practice in a bio-bubble.
As per a BCCI official, Indian players are willing to enter a bio-bubble in India to avoid hard 14-day quarantine in the UK. “There are a lot of players who have been in bubbles and quarantines for eight-nine months now. It is likely to take a toll on them mentally. They are fine with getting into a bubble early in India and then the BCCI may offer a bubble-to-bubble movement scenario. But the negotiation will be tougher this time since the team will be leaving from India unlike from Dubai when they toured Australia,” the source told TOI.
“This will also give them some more time with their families. And mind you, there is a long season coming till the T20 World Cup in November. If the IPL happens in the window between the Test series in England and the T20 World Cup, it’s going to be a very long time in a bubble for the Indian players,” the source added.
If the BCCI is able to convince the UK authorities of the 7-day quarantine, Virat Kohli & Co will begin assembling between May 21-24 in India before they travel to the UK.
ICC WTC Finals team selection: Prithvi Shaw eyes return to the squad as Ishan Kishan on selectors’ radar
As for the team news, BCCI is expected to pick a large 25-member squad for the ICC WTC Finals as they will be playing practice matches amongst themselves in England to acclimatize to the conditions. The squad is expected to be announced on Friday with Prithvi Shaw likely to return to the fold. The Mumbai opener was dropped from the Test squad after a poor run in Australia. However, since he has worked on his technique and has been in red-hot form in the domestic cricket, notching up 827 runs in just eight matches.
The other two who could get call-ups would be Devdutt Padikkal and Ishan Kishan. Like Prithvi Shaw, Padikkal has been in fine form, finishing with 737 runs in seven innings in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. In the IPL 2021, he slammed his maiden century. After being overlooked for the limited-overs series against England, he could get the nod for India ‘A’. The other batsman expected to be picked is Ishan Kishan, who made his T20I debut for India against England. The Jharkhand captain is expected to be picked as a back-up wicketkeeper to Rishabh Pant besides Wriddhiman Saha, who is recovering from COVID-19.
As for the players’ vaccination, some of them including Shikhar Dhawan have already received their first dose as the Indian government opening the doors for 18+. Before Team India travels to England for ICC WTC Finals, the selected players are expected to be vaccinated and Covieshield has emerged as the most favourable option as it is the Indian name of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca made vaccine that has been approved in the UK.
“It is advised that they get Covishield in India because it is based on the AstraZeneca vaccine made in UK,” a BCCI official said.