Selectors spring a few surprises

Cricket : Veterans Yuvraj, Nehra recalled; Delhi batsman Pant picked in T20I squad

Selectors spring a few surprises

Expectedly, Virat Kohli was officially handed over reins of the the limited-overs team and his latest assignment will begin with the series against England from January 15.

India are scheduled to play three one-day internationals and as many T20 internationals against Eoin Morgan-led Englishmen.

Springing some surprises as well, the senior selection committee recalled veterans Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra while also including young Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant (T20Is), who will be an understudy to Mahendra Singh Dhoni who play as keeper-batsman.

The national selection committee under MSK Prasad’s chairmanship named also omitted Ajinkya Rahane from the T20 team where Pant has been included as a batsman.

“We know what Mahi is all about, he is a captain by nature, a leader (leading) from the front,” Prasad said of the outgoing captain.

Yuvraj was in splendid form during the Ranji Trophy and scored 672 runs in five games at an average of 84 with a highest score of 260 against Baroda before he took a break due to his marriage.

The two teams saw veteran Nehra, who underwent surgery after sustaining an injury during IPL, make a comeback. His selection indicated the dearth of quality left-arm seamers in the horizon and no one can question Nehra’s craft with the white ball.

With the three ODIs against England, starting January 15, being the only 50-over matches before the Champions Trophy in England, the selectors named all the top players in both teams barring Rahane.

Both Nehra and Yuvraj will also be needed during the Champions Trophy given their experience in English conditions. Top spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be playing all six matches while a fit-again Shikhar Dhawan has been picked only for the ODIs.

His replacement opener, who is likely to partner KL Rahul in T20s, would be Punjab’s Mandeep Singh. Batsman Manish Pandey has made it to both the squads.

The Indian pace attack also remains the same in both the formats with Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah sharing the workload with seaming all-rounder Hardik Pandya.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra will be replaced by state-mate Yuzvendra Chahal in the shortest format.

Suresh Raina found his place in the shortest format for his prowess in the T20 version while Rahane retained his place in the 50-over format.

Prasad said that skipper Kohli spoke to them over Skype and was taken into confidence before selection.

“Virat has spoken to us, he was with us on skype. After discussing, this is the best possible team we could pick.”

Teams for England series

ODI squad:  Virat Kohli (capt), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav.

T20I squad: Virat Kohli (Capt), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Y Chahal, Manish Pandey, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra.


ODIs: Jan 15 (Pune); Jan 19 (Cuttack); Jan 22 (Kolkata). All games start at 1.30 pm.

T20Is: Jan 26 (Kanpur); Jan 29 (Nagpur); Feb 1 (Bengaluru). Kanpur match starts at 4.30 pm while the last two games begin at 7.00 pm.

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