Virat Kohli wants India’s leading pacers to skip the upcoming season of IPL so that they can keep themselves “fresh and fit” for the forthcoming ICC World Cup 2019.
In a meeting with Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA), Kohli had suggested that leading pacers like Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and others in the fray for next year’s World Cup should not be part of the cash-rich league.
While the World Cup is slated to be held in England from May 30 to July 14, IPL 2019 is expected to start in the first week of April and culminate in the third week of May.
However, the India captain didn't find too many backers for his suggestion as the board officials said franchises are unlikely to co-operate.
"The IPL is starting on March 29 and will finish on May 19. In any case, there will be a 15-day gap before India play their first World Cup game against South Africa on June 5. So there is no chance that pacers can be rested for the entire duration of the IPL," a senior BCCI official told TOI.
Among the players who were present in the meeting include captain Virat Kohli, Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and senior batsman Rohit Sharma. And it is learnt that Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit also had a different take on it.
"When Kohli mooted the idea, CoA chief Vinod Rai asked Rohit about his take. Rohit apparently said, 'If Mumbai Indians reach playoffs or finals and if Bumrah happens to be fit, then I cannot afford to rest him'," Sharma asserted.
Another official, who was there in the meeting, said it was "weird" that Kohli was asking for all the key pacers to be rested from the IPL.
"It has been a convention for the past few years that IPL trainers and physios work with the Indian team's support staff on workload management. That will be followed next year as well and in any case fast bowlers don't play all the games," the official stated.
"The question is more about Bhuvi and Bumrah as (Mohammed) Shami, Umesh (Yadav) and Khaleel (Ahmed) are not automatic choices for their franchises and may not play all IPL games (minimum 14). The official said a counter-view was raised at the same meeting.
"Virat wants his two premier fast bowlers to be rested for the IPL but it could well be counter-productive as they will be out of match practice for two months before the World Cup," he further said.
When one of the franchises' officials interested in picking Khaleel from the auction was posed this question, the board official said: "If our franchise happens to pick Khaleel (if he is back in the auction pool), we would like to avail his optimum services as a current India player. Workload can always be monitored."
(With TOI inputs)