India has a hectic T20 campaign in its lead up to the T20 World Cup which starts in March 2016. The BCCI had planned this schedule on purpose to give the Indian team as much exposure to the T20 format before the world cup starts in India.
The Indian team trounced Australia 3-0 and will fly home to play Sri Lanka in a 3 match series. The BCCI recently announced the squad for the three match series and the biggest surprise is that vice captain Virat Kohli will not be playing as the BCCI decided to rest Kohli who was the man of the series down under.
The three match series starts on the 9th of Feb and will end on the 14th of February after which India will compete in a T20 Asia Cup tournament that will start towards the end of February. India will be fielding a strong squad during the Sri Lanka series and only the only changes to the squad are fringe players.
The BCCI decided to drop all-rounder Rishi Dhawan, fast bowler Umesh Yadav and Gurkeerat Singh Mann from the squad and include all rounder Pawan Negi, batsman Ajinkya Rahane returns and Bhuvneshwar Kumar also returns to the side. Captain MS Dhoni will most likely retain a similar line-up to the one that played in Australia and Manish Pandey will most likely take the place of Virat Kohli.
Sri Lanka are also sending across a rather in-experienced squad because they have lost almost half their side through injury. Lasith Malinga, the T20 captain will not take part due to a knee injury while test and ODI captain Angelo Matthews will also miss out due to a groin injury. The Sri Lankans will also be without the services of N Kulasekera, R Herath and Nuwan Pradeep who are also recovering from injuries.
The move to rest Virat Kohli is an interesting one as Kohli is currently in the form of his life and many cricket experts believe that it is better for a batsman to continue to play instead of taking a break. However considering the amount of T20 cricket coming up in the next couple of months, the BCCI want to make sure that Kohli remains fresh and injury free as he will be one of the key players for India during the T20 world cup.
This will be a great opportunity for the likes of M Pandey, A Rahane and P Negi to shine and book a place in the T20 World Cup squad.