The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday announced the 15-member squad for the upcoming three match T20I series against South Africa. It will more or less be the same team that played against West Indies in their last series with the only exception being the return of Hardik Pandya. Hardik had missed the T20I series against West Indies with a minor niggle and is back after undergoing full recovery.
Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been rested for the series with Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar and Khaleel Ahmed being the specialist fast bowlers in the squad. In the spin department, Rahul Chahar, Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar were the preferred choices. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who were not part of the T20I squad picked for the West Indies series, continue to be excluded.
MS Dhoni was not included in the squad as India continue to persist with Rishabh Pant as the specialist wicket-keeper. Dhoni is currently in the USA having taken a two-month sabbatical from international duties to serve his battalion post the conclusion of the ICC World Cup 2019. Dhoni, who holds an honorary title of Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army, was posted in Kashmir as part of the victor force and did patrolling duties for his regiment.
Dhoni started his stint with the battalion on July 31 and concluded it on August 15. There have been no words from the veteran’s camp regarding his future in international cricket. It remains unclear if the selectors spoke to Dhoni about his future ahead of the squad announcement. It seems that the veteran is likely to stick around as a mentor to Pant and help him settle down before he walks away from international cricket.
The Indian cricket team completed a 3-0 whitewash in the recently concluded three match T20I series against West Indies last month with Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar and Krunal Pandya being the top performers. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma contributed well with the bat but it was the young bowling line-up that impressed everyone with their performances.
Saini, who made his debut during the series, was the top wicket-taker with 5 wickets while Chahar took three wickets in the final encounter. Krunal contributed with both bat and ball and was one of the main factors behind India’s dominant show. The first T20I will be played in Dharamshala on September 15 followed by the second and third in Mohali and Bengaluru on September 18 and 22 respectively.
India’s squad for 3 T20Is against South Africa: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini