Indian cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri reckons that two Indian teams playing simultaneously in different parts of the world could become commonplace.
Currently, the Test specialists led by Virat Kohli are on their way to the United Kingdom to take on New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC) final in Southampton from June 18-22. Later, they will also play England in the five-match Test series commencing from August 4.
On the other hand, a second-string India squad, possibly captained by Shikhar Dhawan and coached by Rahul Dravid, will also travel to Sri Lanka in July.
“At the moment it's happening because of the current situation and restrictions on travel and things of that sort,” Ravi Shastri explained. “But you never know. In the future, if you want to expand the game, especially in the shorter formats, then it could be the way to go.”
India last fielded two international teams in 1998 when one squad headed to Canada to face Pakistan in ODIs, the other headed to Malaysia to compete in the Commonwealth Games.
The coach also explained how experimenting with two teams, especially with the shortest version of the game can help globalise the sport and also find an entry into the Olympic Games in the coming years.
"You know, why not, when you have that much volume of cricketers and if you want to spread the T20 game across the globe, then that could be the way ahead because if you're talking of Olympics in four years or eight years' time, you need more countries to play the game. So that could be a way forward,” the 60-year-old coach reasoned.
The International Cricket Council has been pushing for cricket’s inclusion in the Olympics, particularly for Los Angeles 2028, with the T20 format.
Ever since the Indian cricket board decided to field two national teams simultaneously, several former players have marvelled at India’s talent pool and its ability to produce formidable cricketers across the format lately.
Earlier this year, India beat Australia 2-1 in the Border-Gavaskar Test series Down Under. The Indian cricket team largely comprised second-string players.
Featured Image: AFP/ Sajjad Hussain