BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal has asserted that the concept of India fielding two teams simultaneously could be a common occurrence in the future, thanks to the challenges posed by the pandemic. Dhumal believes that the concept will not only provide seniors rest, but help other boards financially.
Four years ago, Australia fielded two separate international teams simultaneously as while the seniors travelled to India to play a four-Test series, the selectors picked a separate limited-overs squad for the series at home against Sri Lanka. The move was a product of fixture congestion and did prove to be an anomaly. However, since last year, since the pandemic broke out, boards have spoken about how the concept of ‘dual teams’ could become a norm. The ECB, last year, deployed separate white-ball and red-ball sides and now, next month, India are all set to field separate sides in Sri Lanka and England, for LOIs and Tests respectively.
These developments are also a product of fixture congestion, but BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal is of the opinion that the concept of ‘two squads’ could be a common occurrence in the future. Dhumal believes that the idea comes with two benefits: one, helping countries manage the workloads of their best players and two, enabling powerhouses to support boards that are not financially strong.
"It is a definite possibility that India could play another limited overs tour with a younger squad while the main team players are playing elsewhere or need a break. The COVID-19 related restrictions also need to be factored in," Dhumal told PTI.
"It (two India squads) also shows the solid bench strength of the Indian team and gives us an opportunity to organise more bilateral cricket and help other boards which are facing financial challenges amid the pandemic.
"It is imperative to come up with new ideas to deal with the loss of bilateral cricket that has happened over the last 18 months.”
The BCCI, of late, have come under fire for neglecting women’s cricket, but Dhumal asserted that the board are keen to do everything within their power to help women’s cricket in the country grow manifold. Dhumal claimed that the BCCI will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the development of women’s cricket in India.
"Women's cricket has come a long way after it came under the aegis of BCCI. The sport will grow even more in the future and the board will leave no stone unturned to give more exposure and opportunity to budding women cricketers," the BCCI Treasurer said.
The Indian women’s side is currently in the midst of a one-off Test against England, the country’s first since 2014, and the Mithali Raj-led side is also scheduled to play a pink-ball Test in Australia in the latter part of the year. Apart from this, the BCCI have also given the green signal for a handful of Indian cricketers to participate in the inaugural edition of The Hundred. Dhumal stated that the board have ensured that the players get hefty practice prior to the 50-over World Cup in New Zealand next year.
"The board has already made a conscious attempt to give them substantial game time before the World Cup (next year) with tours of England and Australia lined up.
"We are also really happy to see them playing Tests again and wish the players the very best."