India’s World Cup winning skipper MS Dhoni has been overlooked by the national team selectors for the upcoming three-match T20 series against South Africa in Dharamshala, beginning on September 15th. The selection committee which had convened a meeting on Thursday, decided to go with the same squad which whitewashed West Indies recently.
India’s power hitter Hardik Pandya, who has reattained his fitness, returned to the T20 squad with Bhuvneshwar Kumar excluded.
“Retirement is purely individual (decision). A legendary cricketer like Dhoni, he knows when to retire. What is the future course of action, that is in the hands of the selection committee. I don’t think we need to discuss anything more on it. First of all he is not available. Second, we have already started grooming youngsters,” chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said at the media conference to announced the squad for the West Indies last month.
“Post World Cup, we have laid down a few more plans and we thought of giving as many opportunities as possible to Rishabh Pant and to see he is groomed. That is our plan right now and we did discuss this with him (Dhoni),” Prasad had said.
Nevertheless, Rishabh Pant’s only satisfactory performance against the Caribbean side was in the final T20 match, where he cumulated 65 runs in 42 deliveries. But the selectors including skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri are willing to give the youngster another chance.
On the other hand, Shreyas Iyer, who was one of the match winners for the men in blue in the ODI series against the Windies, continues to fine a spot in the T20 squad.
Hardik Pandya who was excluded for the West Indies tour is back in the squad to face South Africa but the selectors decided to give rest to their go to pacer Jasprit Bumrah. Bhumrah was also excluded from the limited overs leg of the West Indies series but made a startling return picking up 5/7 in the second innings of the first Test against the Caribbean side in Antigua.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar who bowled brilliantly against the West Indies in the T20s and ODIs is the most noteworthy exclusion from the squad.
In the three match T20 series, the paceman claimed three wickets at an average of 15 and in the three ODIs he scalped four wickets at an average of 22.5.
Krunal Pandya and Navdeep Saini who made a great impact in the T20 games against the Windies, will look to build on that success against South Africa. The T20 series will commence in Dharamshala on 15th September.
India’s squad for 3 T20Is: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini