New Delhi: India skipper Virat Kohli along with senior most player Mahendra Singh Dhoni were prominent among the host of players rested for the T20 tri-series in Sri Lanka, starting 6 March.
Rohit Sharma will lead a second-string team comprising the leading performers in domestic (Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 and IPL) tournaments. Shikhar Dhawan will be his deputy in a side that has as many as six changes.
"MS Dhoni was not available for selection as he had requested for rest," national selector MSK Prasad was quoted as saying in a press release.
On predicted lines, top fast bowling duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested along with all-rounder Hardik Pandya after they shared enormous workload on the South Africa tour.
"We've kept in mind the workload and upcoming schedule while finalizing the team for Nidahas Trophy.
The high-performance team has suggested that adequate rest should be given to our fast bowlers to help improve athletic performance, maximize rest and prevent injury," Prasad added.
Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav is also not in the Sri Lanka bound team. A close look will indicate that selectors maintained consistency by selecting all those players, who were part of the home T20s against Sri Lanka in December.
Coming back in the team is prolific keeper batsman Rishabh Pant, after a solid season in white-ball cricket including centuries in both national T20s and One-dayers.
Off spinner Washington Sundar, pacer Mohammed Siraj and all-rounder Deepak Hooda are also back in the side after the home series against Sri Lanka. All-rounder Vijay Shankar is the like for like replacement for Pandya. Dinesh Karthik is the first keeper while Pant may play as pure batsman.
The prominent performer to miss out was Mayank Agarwal who scored 2000 plus runs in the season.
"Mayank has not been selected because we are following a pattern. Any domestic performer will have to play India A before being considered for senior team selection," a senior BCCI official close to selection committee told PTI.
Squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Siraj, Rishabh Pant (wk).
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India were bundled out for a meagre 225 with Sri Lankan spinners Akila Dananjaya (3/44) and Praveen Jayawickrama (3/59) wreaking havoc in the middle overs.
On a personal note, Dhawan knows that even he is auditioning for a place in the T20 World Cup side.
The 30-year-old from Mumbai clinched the man of the series award for amassing 124 runs with a highest score of 53 in his debut ODI series against Sri Lanka.