No place for MS Dhoni in India's T20I squad as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday name 15-man side for the three-match series against South Africa, which kicks off India's international home cricketing season next month.
After being handed a break post the ICC ODI World Cup, all-rounder Hardik Pandya returns to international cricket. The Baroda all-rounder is the solitary change in India's T20I squad from the one that toured America and West Indies previous month. Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar made way for the all-rounder.
Former India skipper, Dhoni, was not picked after there were reports of team management preferring the left-handed Rishabh Pant for the wicket-keeper's position. Pant played a crucial part the T20I series in the Caribbean, whereas he also kept the gloves in the first Test against West Indies recently.
Pant had played a match-winning knock of 65 off 42 balls during the third T20I against West Indies, as India completed a 3-0 sweep over the reigning World T20 champions.
Following the ICC Cricket World Cup where India lost to New Zealand in the semi-finals, Dhoni opted for a break from cricket as he joined the army in Jammu and Kashmir to carry out patrolling and guard duties.
The 38-year-old was conferred with a honorary Lieutenant Colonel rank in 2011.
Strike fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has not been picked for the T20I series and with Bhuvneshwar Kumar left out from the squad implies a bowling attack slightly short on experience.
Right-arm pacer Deepak Chahar who had an stellar outing in the third T20I against the Windies, where he claimed three wickets for just four runs from his three overs has been retained in the side. His cousin and wrist-spinner, Rahul Chahar, who made his debut in the final T20I of the series, too finds a place.
Fast bowler Navdeep Saini was another debutant in the T20I series, though he played all three matches had an impressive run too. He bagged five wickets in the three-matches.
The three T20Is will be followed by as many Tests against the Proteas. This will be the beginning of a long international home season for India, with Bangladesh, West Indies and Australia slated to visit the country over the next five months.
India begin their T20I series against South Africa on 15 September with the first game to be held in Dharmashala.
India’s squad for three T20Is against South Africa: Virat Kohli(Captain), Rohit Sharma ( vice-captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini
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Kohli, a fitness freak, also said that he himself felt good from the first training session after landing in the UAE.
Although Malan’s numbers have been improving, his average is still not at India skipper’s level as Kohli averages at 50.8 and is also the highest run scorer currently in T20 internationals with 2,794 runs in 76 innings.
After an economical spell with the ball, Sam Curran scored a quick-fire 18 off just six balls to help his side start the campaign on a positive note.