MS Dhoni, who wasn’t picked for the three-match T20I rubber against the Windies at home and Australia, returns to the fold for the T20I series versus New Zealand as part of the 15-man squad, starting in February next year.
Dhoni, the seasoned campaigner, with 425 limited overs games to his name, hasn’t exactly made an impact in T20Is in recent years. However, after selecting the squad for the T20Is against the Caribbean side, MSK Prasad, the chief selector, had made it clear that it “isn’t the end of Dhoni in T20Is” and further noted, “the T20Is here and in Australia, he [Dhoni] is not going to play, because we are also looking at a second wicketkeeper. That will be between Rishabh and Dinesh Karthik. So they will be getting a chance to keep and bat”. Dhoni, however, was in fine form in IPL 2018, ending up with 455 runs at a strike rate of over 150.
Kedar Jadhav, who is an established member of the 50-over side, makes a comeback for the shortest format of the game, while Washington Sundar and Shreyas Iyer haven’t been included.
Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya, who missed the limited overs leg of the series against the Windies due to a back problem he suffered during the Asia Cup, was drafted for the three-match ODI series against Australia and the subsequent limited overs series versus New Zealand.
After recovering from the injury, the 25-year-old took part in a Ranji Trophy game versus Mumbai where he snared seven scalps in the match and scored a fifty. After proving his match fitness, he was drafted into the Test side for the final two games of the Australia series.
Manish Pandey, who has been on the fringes of the limited overs set-up for close to three years, has been dropped from both the ODI and T20I squads. Pandey, however, was in fine form during India ‘A”s 50-over series versus New Zealand ‘A’, scoring 158 runs at an average of 79 after having performed brilliantly in the quadrangular ‘A’ series at home.
Rishabh Pant, the promising wicketkeeper-batsman, who made his debut versus the Windies in Guwahati last month, has been left out of the ODI unit. The southpaw accumulated just 41 runs across the three games that he played versus the Windies. After the ongoing Test series, he will be returning home to play for India ‘A’ in a five-match one-day series against England Lions. Dinesh Karthik, who hasn’t played an ODI since the Asia Cup, will be the second wicketkeeper.
The squad also includes veteran pacer Mohammed Shami. The 28-year-old was left out of India’s ODI squad for the final three ODIs against Windies after returning figures of 1 for 59 and 2 for 81 in the first two games of the series. However, his pace colleague, Umesh Yadav, has been axed from both the ODI and T20I units. He took just two scalps over three limited overs games versus the Windies.
The first match of the ODI series in Australia will be played on January 12 in Sydney. The next two games will be hosted by Adelaide and Melbourne on January 15 and 18. On the other hand, the five ODIs in New Zealand will be played in Napier, Mount Maungani (2nd and third ODI), Hamilton and Wellington. The three-match T20I series will take place in Wellington, Auckland and Hamilton.
India’s squad for T20I series against New Zealand: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed
India’s squad for ODI series against Australia and New Zealand: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami