Should India play Khaleel Ahmed and rest Bumrah against Hong Kong?

first_imgIndia begin their Asia Cup 2018 campaign against Hong Kong on September 18, just a day ahead of their marquee clash with Pakistan in Dubai. Two matches on back-to-back days is not going to be an easy deal and for that reason, India might do well to take a strategic outlook.Hong Kong lost their opener to Pakistan by eight wickets on September 16, where neither their batsmen nor bowlers were able to put a solid performance and Pakistan rolled past them.Pakistan played their best players against Hong Kong but before playing India in their next match, they have a two-day rest. Contrarily, India will hardly get any rest between their first two matches.Considering the tight scheduling, workload management comes into play and India may look to rotate their players well in order to have the best chance against a solid Pakistan team.That is where managing the workload of Jasprit Bumrah might play a crucial role.Also read – Virat Kohli rested for Asia Cup 2018, Rohit Sharma named India captainVirat Kohli has been rested from the entire tournament after a gruelling tour of England where he played each and every match. Kohli even suffered a stiff back during the Lord’s Test but went on to play all the matches.Rohit Sharma is all set to lead the Indian team in UAE and might want to keep his players as fresh as possible for all matches.However, Bumrah, right after coming from a finger injury, played all the last three Test matches against England.advertisementConsidering the English conditions, Bumrah bowled incessantly in order to get breakthroughs. In the three matches he played, he picked 14 wickets, including a five-wicket haul and bowled 800 deliveries.Also read – Jasprit Bumrah returns to Test cricket with 2nd successive 5-wicket haul Jasprit Bumrah bagged a five-wicket haul on his return to Test cricket in England. (Reuters Photo)Bumrah bowled exceptionally well and he is India’s primary limited-overs bowler along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar but it might do India some good if they decide to rest him for the first match.Back in March, after Bumrah had performed exceedingly well against South Africa in his debut Test series, chief selector MSK Prasad had said that managing Bumrah’s workload will be key to prolong his career.”I am delighted with Jasprit’s performance. We always had confidence in his abilities as he had done well for Gujarat in Ranji Trophy. But now our primary goal is to monitor his workload very carefully with so much international cricket ahead. We need to be careful that he is not over-used,” Prasad had said.”If you look at his action, it is a rare one and he can be prone to injuries. We need to use him for the important Test series coming ahead. For each and every fast bowler, the balance of workload is very important and the high performance team will be monitoring it closely,” the former India wicketkeeper explained.Should India decide to rest Bumrah, they have Khaleel Ahmed waiting in the wings and giving him his debut cap might be a good move. Khaleel is relatively unknown in the international circuit and he might spring a surprise or two at the batsmen.Khaleel, a 20-year-old from Rajasthan, has played 17 List A matches taking 28 wickets at an economy rate of 4.74. He was with India A during the tour of England recently. Khaleel also represented India A in the recently concluded quadrangular series finishing with 7 wickets from four games.Also read – Khaleel Ahmed: India’s latest left-arm pace sensationMSK Prasad, after announcing the Asia Cup squad, did say that they are looking at Khaleel for the left-handed seamer’s slot ahead of the World Cup and giving him his first break against Hong Kong might spell good for both the youngster and the Indian team on the whole.Last year, when Kohli took a break from the Sri Lanka series in order to give his body some rest, he did mention how workload management of important players will play a key role if they want to continue being successful.”Tough to speak on workload. There’s a lot of talk about whether players should be rested or not. From the outside it looks like why are people asking for rest. Everyone played same number of games. But it’s important to understand that not everyone had the same kind of workload in every game that you play. We have built such a strong core team now of 20-25 players, you don’t want important players breaking down at important times. That is where the balance needs to be maintained. It’s humanly impossible to maintain the same kind of intensity for a player who plays all three formats. Definitely, I do need a rest. When I think that my body needs to be rested, I’ll ask for it. I am not a robot you can cut my skin and check, I bleed,” Kohli had said.advertisementKohli did talk about himself but also spoke about how the best players’ health and body need to be protected for success and Rohit Sharma might choose to take cue from that.last_img read more