Indian selectors recalled opener KL Rahul while bringing in hard-hitting wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant for the five-match ODI series against Australia at home.
The squad for the five-match series is more or less the one the Indians will be going in with at the 2019 World Cup. Which means it is almost certain that Dinesh Karthik will not be a part of India’s World Cup side after failing to make the cut in the ODI squads for either the first two or last three matches.
The decision to drop Karthik is an interesting one as it comes after he was criticised for not taking a single in the final over chase against New Zealand in the third T20. In Hamilton, with 14 needed from four balls and an in-form Krunal Pandya at the other end, Karthik refused a single and then failed to secure victory himself.
India play two T20s against Australia – starting on February 24 – before hosting them for five ODI early next month.
The decision to select Pant was long overdue with the absence of an in-form, hard-hitting lower order batsman felt over the past season.
Rahul is back in the team as a back-up opener after scoring a couple of 80s against the England Lions in first-class cricket.
Virat Kohli will lead India in all the games, with fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah also selected for all matches after being given a rest for limited overs clashes in Australia and New Zealand.
All-rounder Vijay Shankar seems to have done enough to gain the trust of the team management to be the second all-rounder behind Hardik Pandya.
MS Dhoni remains the main wicketkeeper with Mohammed Shami selected for all five ODIs, ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has been picked for the last three. It means Shami has overtaken Bhuvi to become the No2 ODI bowler for India.
India squad for 1st and 2nd ODIs: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Siddharth Kaul, KL Rahul
India’s squad for last three ODIs: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant
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