Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Star pacer all set to make a comeback into the Indian squad for Australia series

Team India are all set to make few major changes in the squads for the upcoming T20I and ODI home series against Australia.

The upcoming limited overs home series against Australia is going to be the last series for team India in any format before the World Cup begins in June. Though most of the spots in the squads are taken, still there are few players who are in contention for a spot in the World Cup squad. Chief selector MSK Prasad recently said that the selection committee are keeping an eye on few other players who did not get a chance to play in the recent tours of Australia and New Zealand.

Some players impressed the selectors with their form in the recently concluded Ranji Trophy, the premium and the most important tournament in Indian domestic cricket. Some players are also involved with the India A squad which is playing consistently throughout the year around the world. Currently the India A team is involved in a home series against England Lions at home.

With only ten days remaining for the T20I series against Australia to begin, the focus is again on the selection panel as it is expected that there will be some big changes made in the Indian team as it could be the last audition for some players to book their berth for the World Cup. It is likely that regular captain Virat Kohli, who was rested from the last two ODIs and the T20I series against New Zealand, will make a comeback along with India’s best bowler across formats, Jasprit Bumrah.

Another player who is likely to get picked in the squad is Saurashtra skipper, left-arm medium fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat. Unadkat last played for India in the historic Nidahas Cup final against Bangladesh in March last year. Since then Unadkat has been out of contention as the team’s leading left-arm medium bowler as the selectors and team management backed Rajasthan’s 21 year-old Khaleel Ahmed in the limited overs format. Khaleel was impressive in the domestic circuit and was also part of the Under-19 World Cup squad in 2016.

After some good outings for India A, Khaleel was picked for the Indian ODI squad for the 2018 Asia Cup and made his debut against Hong Kong. So far Khaleel has featured in 8 ODIs and 9 T20Is for India and has picked 11 and 10 wickets respectively. Unadkat on the other hand has played a solitary Test, 7 ODIs and 10 T20Is and has picked 8 wickets in ODIs and 14 in T20Is.

In the recently concluded Ranji Trophy, Unadkat led the Saurashtra side to the finals and finished the tournament with 39 wickets in eight outings with a bowling average of 17.17. After some brilliant performances across formats in the domestic circuit, Unadkat was the most expensive buy in the 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League after the Rajasthan Royals franchise picked him for a whopping INR 11.50 crores. In 2019, Unadkat will be seen in action for the Rajasthan franchise again after the successfully bid for the 27 year-old for INR 8.4 crores.

Talking about Rajasthan Royals players, the RR skipper Ajinkya Rahane, who is currently leading the Rest of India squad in the Irani Cup game might get another opportunity in the ODI squad as MSK Prasad hinted that he is still in contention for the World Cup along with KL Rahul if the latter is successful in scoring runs in the given opportunities.

With no 50-overs cricket scheduled for the Indian players before the World Cup and after the Australia series, the domestic T20 competition Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the Indian Premier League are the only platforms available for the Indian players to stake their claim for the World Cup squad as MSK Prasad has mentioned that the selectors have rounded up on 20 players to chose from for the World Cup and as a back up, the selection for the upcoming series will be an interesting one.

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