India likely to send second-string side for Asia Cup 2021 amid tight schedule

Written by Abhishek Patil

The forthcoming Asia Cup remains under the scanner. Postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asia Cup might now be held in Sri Lanka in late June 2021 after India reached the final of the ICC World Test Championship, where they are set to face New Zealand from June 18-22.

Due to India’s busy schedule, where they will likely stay back in the United Kingdom for the five Tests versus Joe Root & Co. followed by home series, T20 World Cup, etc., the Board of Control for Cricket in India ((BCCI) might have no choice but to send a second-string Indian team for the Asia Cup 2021. The upcoming edition is set to be held in the shortest format as a dress rehearsal for this year’s T20 World Cup in India. It was played in the T20I format in early 2016 as well — which remains the last edition — for the same reason.

It is believed that the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is now proposing for the Asia Cup to be held in Sri Lanka. It is also learnt that top officials of BCCI have been locked in a meeting with the ACC in order to confirm the window and the whole tournament.

If the Asia Cup goes ahead in late June, Team India might have a second-string side at its disposal as the key players, such as Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, will be busy preparing for the five Tests versus England after the WTC final.

“There’s no other choice. We can’t risk the preparation for the series in England. And cricketers can’t twice undergo quarantine. If the Asia Cup happens, India will have no option but to send a second-string squad,” top sources confirmed.

The last edition of the Asia Cup was held in early 2016 which saw the MS Dhoni-led India become the first-ever Asian side to win the tournament both in ODI and T20I format.

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Abhishek Patil