Kolkata: Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly on Sunday said that the Indian team, sans the top players, will tour Sri Lanka in July for a limited overs bilateral series.
Big names such as skipper Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma will not be part of the tour as they will be engaged in a marquee five-match Test series in England.
"We have planned a white-ball series for the senior men's team during the month of July where they will play T20 Internationals and ODIs in Sri Lanka," Ganguly told PTI in an interaction.
Asked how will India segregate the two teams, Ganguly said that it will be a different side, which won't have anyone from the outfit that will be in the United Kingdom at that time.
"Yes, it will be a team of white-ball specialists. It will be a different team," the former India captain said, making it clear that the BCCI also has the preparation of white-ball regulars in mind.
There will be at least five T20 Internationals and may be three ODIs in Sri Lanka.
India's tour of England will end on September 14 and with the schedule of the remainder of IPL 2021 yet to be chalked out, the BCCI would want the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar and Yuzvendra Chahal to be match ready.
"The BCCI president is very keen that all our top players are match ready and since England doesn't have a white-ball leg the month of July can be utilised well," a BCCI source told PTI while explaining the logic behind the tour.
This will give the team a chance to carry out experiments, like whether it will be Chahal, Rahul Chahar or Rahul Tewatia for the leg break bowler's slot, if Chetan Sakariya can be tried as left-arm pacer option or Shreyas Iyer gets fit to play by then.
Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan are likely to be the two wicketkeeper-batsmen in the squad. Kerala star Sanju, who led Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, was dropped from the Indian T20I squad after the Australian tour. The Sri Lanka series could revive Sanju's international career.
Not to forget that Prithvi Shaw's international career could get a boost with this white-ball series, with Suryakumar Yadav and Kishan also getting a chance to stake their claims.
(With inputs from PTI)