Durham: Skipper Virat Kohli and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane have opted out of the three-day warm-up fixture against County Select XI. The game which is being played here started Tuesday. Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is also not playing the game. Rohit Sharma is leading the side in Virat Kohli and Rahane’s absence. Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha are also not available as both are in isolation.
In an interesting move, India’s reserve pacer Avesh Khan is playing for the opposition side. It was done after both sides mutually agreed to give their players game time.
Incidentally, during Pakistan’s 1987 tour of the country, 14-year-old Sachin Tendulkar played for the visiting country. He was summoned as the reserve fielder for Imran Khan-led side during a match against India at Brabourne Stadium.
First team regular Mohammed Shami has also been rested from the game, which is one of India’s rare first-class game in last 10 years.
It is understood that Kohli, Rahane, Shami, Jadeja will be sweating it out at the nets alongside Ashwin. The last-named has already bowled a whopping 58 overs and taken seven wickets in a County game for Surrey last week.
Kohli, Rahane, Shami are also coming from a three-week break. If they had played it would have meant staying on field for a stipulated period of time as it is a first class game. The match also provides an opportunity to Hanuma Vihari to score a few runs and keep Rahane under pressure. The five-Test series will be an acid test for both Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane.
The game however, did not start well for the Indians. They went to lunch with the scoreboard reading 80 for three wickets. Rohit Sharma (9), Mayank Agarwal (28) and Cheteshwar Pujara (21) all fell cheaply.