Former opening batsman of the Indian national cricket team Wasim Zafar Team India has requested key players to participate in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season before Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 against Australia.
On Saturday, January 21, India beat New Zealand by 8 wickets in the second ODI in Raipur to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. The third ODI, which will be a dead rubber, will be held in Indore on Tuesday, January 24. India will next play a three-match T20I series against the Kiwis on January 27, 29 and February 1, however, the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are not part of the T20 squad.
During a discussion on ESPNcricinfo, Zafar said that the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the Ranji Trophy will make a lot of sense as they need some red-ball practice ahead of the crucial Test series against Australia.
“I think it (Ranji Trophy game) will mean a lot. If they play a match – two innings in a Ranji match – it will definitely help. No matter how experienced you are, you definitely need that game time, especially in red ball cricket. You don’t want to undercook when playing the first Test,” he said.
Wasim Zafar also said that Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 is very important.
“It’s a massive series from all angles – whether it’s the World Test Championship (WTC) final going to India or the number one Test team in the world. India will have to do whatever it takes to be ready for the first Test match. Virat Kohli hasn’t played much Test cricket in a while; Rohit and many others,” he said.
Wasim Zafar in KS India – sending him to play that Ranji game makes sense
Zafar also said that wicketkeeper-batsman KS Bharath, who is part of India’s ODI squad for the ongoing three-match series against the Black Caps, must be sent to play in the Ranji Trophy. With star wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant out of action indefinitely, Wasim Zafar feels India will play a lot of Test cricket for India.
“(It is) likely that KS Bharat will not play in the third ODI. Sending him for that Ranji game makes sense. He is more likely to play in Rishabh Pant’s place. He has big shoes to fill. He is going to play a lot of Test cricket in Pant’s absence.
Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 will be played at four different venues in India. Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur will host the first Test from February 9 to 13 and Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi will host the second Test from February 17 to 21.
The third Test will be held from March 1 to 5 at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamshala and the fourth Test from March 9 to 13 at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad.