Pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami will reportedly be rested or rotated in the limited-over games to give the duo the opportunity to participate in warm-up games ahead of the Tests. With Ishant Sharma uncertain, the management are reportedly keen to preserve Bumrah and Shami for Tests.
The Indian management named a gigantic limited-overs squad for the tour of Australia, selecting multiple players exclusively for both T20Is and ODIs, but, nevertheless, chose to include their premier duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami in all three formats. With the turnaround between the limited-over games and Tests being really short, there has arised a concern of both Bumrah and Shami being burnt and overused prior to the Tests, particularly with both pacers coming on the back of a long and hectic IPL in the UAE.
However, it is now believed that the Indian management are willing to tread carefully with the duo, ahead of the all-important Test series, particularly with Ishant Sharma’s fitness still being uncertain. A source close to the team has told TOI that Bumrah and Shami could miss the T20Is - which precede the Tests - so as to give them the opportunity to play two warm-up games ahead of the Tests.
"If both (Bumrah and Shami) play the T20 Internationals (on Dec 4, 6 and 8), then they will have one warm-up match less which I don't think the team management will fancy at this moment," a source close to the team told TOI.
India are scheduled to play two warm-up matches with a strong Australia A team - the first on December 6 and the second on December 11 - ahead of the Tests, with the second match slated to be a pink-ball game.
The report added that head coach Ravi Shastri and bowling coach Bharath Arun want to take no risks with vis-à-vis Bumrah and Shami, ahead of the Tests, and so will not be against giving the duo ample rest prior to the red-ball fixtures, taking into account the packed schedule that lies ahead of the team.
Bumrah and Shami missing out on T20Is will be a telling blow for the Indians, but that would open the door for a maiden T20I cap for left-arm seamer T Natarajan, who took the IPL by storm. Deepak Chahar and Navdeep Saini are the other two pace-bowling options in India’s armoury in the shortest format for the Australia tour.