By Khurram Habib
New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) With no plans of any first-class cricket in India as of now, it has become easier for the Indian team to send an entire contingent with the net bowlers to Australia with no compulsion of releasing the net bowlers, all first-class players, for domestic season. The dates of the domestic season have not been announced, though it is likely to begin in January, when the Indian tour ends.
India has sent Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kartik Tyagi, Ishan Porel and T. Natarajan to Australia as net bowlers. Nagarkoti, however, had to pull out due to the workload management policy of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The BCCI has, in recent years, realised the need to take net bowlers alongside on overseas tours as the bowlers provided by the host associations haven’t been of international or at times even first-class standards.
“We always get these [non-international or non-first-class standards] net bowlers everywhere we go,” MS Dhoni had said during the 2013 tour of South Africa.
The BCCI, keeping in mind the standard of net bowlers provided, has been sending net bowlers in recent series like in the World Cup last year and now on the tour of Australia.
The cricket board, though, had been releasing players not featuring in international games in any capacity at home for domestic matches as there had been growing demand to have quality players in domestic cricket to maintain its high standards.
But with domestic cricket not happening, it looks likely to be a long working holiday for some of the Indian youngsters although the BCCI is also keeping a tab on their workload.
Australia, on the other hand, will be using mostly the under-19 cricketers to bowl at the team’s nets as they don’t want to disturb the ongoing first-class cricket competition or even the T20 Big Bash League that will get underway next month.
“We are going to get creative here. We understand the importance of Big Bash so I can’t imagine, we will be trying to have our squad as reduced as possible or respecting the Covid protocol. We might have an opportunity to bring in some of the best U-19 bowlers in for us. We did that in Hampshire with really good effect. We had six young Hampshire bowlers. It was excellent for their development, for our guys,” Australia coach Justin Langer said at a recent press conference.
“I know it [quality first-class net bowlers] is important but it won’t be from the bigger squads which will affect the Big Bash because we want our players play as much cricket as possible,” he said.