Hardik Pandya returns as India name squad for upcoming T20 series against South Africa

Sudhir Gupta 29/08/2019
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Hardik Pandya is back after being rested for the Windies tour.

MS Dhoni continues to remain absent as India‘s selectors named the squad for the upcoming three-match T20 series against South Africa on home soil.

The return of all-rounder Hardik Pandya to the fold is the only change from India’s squad from the recently concluded T20 series in West Indies with Bhuvneshwar Kumar being the player to make way.

Rishabh Pant will continue to don the wicketkeeping gloves for the Men in Blue in the three-match series against the Proteas with Dhoni not featuring in the squad once again. The veteran wicketkeeper had earlier made himself unavailable for the ongoing tour of West Indies with Pant being named as the wicketkeeper for all three formats subsequently.

With Bhuvneshwar and Jasprit Bumrah both rested for the T20 clashes, India will have to depend on an inexperienced pace unit comprising of Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini and Deepak Chahar while Rahul Chahar, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar and Ravindra Jadeja make up the spin contingent.

Manish Pandey continues to retain his spot in the batting unit despite his unconvincing displays in the Caribbean while Shreyas Iyer will hope to feature in the playing XI after not getting a single game in the three T20s against West Indies.

India are slated to play three T20s and as many Tests against South Africa once they return from their ongoing tour of the West Indies. The first T20 between India and the Proteas will get underway at Dharamsala on September 15.

India 15-man squad for T20 series

Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, 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.

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Sri Lanka mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis retires from all forms of cricket

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It is curtains for Ajantha Mendis' cricket career.

Former Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket at the age of 34.

The mystery spinner enjoyed one of the most explosive introductions to international cricket in 2008 with the Sri Lanka man going on to star in the Asia Cup final against India in the same year by returning with figures of 6-13.

Mendis still holds the record for the being the fastest to 50 ODI wickets (19 games) with his numerous variations including the ‘carrom-ball’ bamboozling plenty of international batsmen.

The spinner had a remarkable debut series in the Test format as well for Sri Lanka and picked up 26 wickets against India in just three clashes in the 2008 series at home. He remains the only bowler to have claimed a six-wicket haul twice in T20Is with the first of them coming against Australia in 2011 while the second was registered against Zimbabwe in the 2012 World T20.

Mendis claimed 6-13 in Sri Lanka's 2008 Asia Cup final win over India.

Mendis claimed 6-13 in Sri Lanka’s 2008 Asia Cup final win over India.

Mendis’ meteoric rise, however, soon came to a grinding halt with the spinner’s mystery being worked out by batsmen in the age of modern video-analysis with his effectiveness dropping drastically with time.

Injuries played their part as well in hampering the Sri Lankan’s international career and he would not go on to make any more appearances after featuring in an ODI against West Indies in December, 2015.

Overall, Mendis has claimed a total of 70, 152 and 66 wickets in the 19 Test, 87 ODI and 39 T20I formats respectively for Sri Lanka.

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Ashes 2019: Paine backs Lyon to regain upper hand over Stokes despite Headingley debacle

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Stokes won the battle against Lyon ultimately at Leeds.

Australia skipper Tim Paine is backing Nathan Lyon to get the better of Ben Stokes in the remainder of the Ashes series despite the off-spinner coming on the receiving end of some heavy punishment from the England all-rounder at Headingley.

Lyon was taken to the cleaners by a rampant Stokes in the second innings at Leeds with the Aussie off-spinner also being guilty of fluffing a straightforward run-out opportunity against Jack Leach before England dramatically stole a one-wicket win to level the series at 1-1.

However, Lyon did have his moments against Stokes with David Warner shelling a chance at slip early into the Englishman’s innings while a lbw appeal in the dying stages of the Test was incorrectly turned down by umpire Joel Wilson.

The England star all-rounder had been given similar reprieves by Australia’s fielders while facing Lyon in the second innings of the Lord’s Test before he went on to register an unbeaten ton in the drawn clash.

Paine believes Lyon can gain the upper hand over Stokes again if Australia can back the off-spinner sufficiently while also making better use of the Decision Review System (DRS).

“In the last two Test matches alone, Nathan Lyon has got him out six or seven times,” Paine told Australian radio station SEN.

“We’ve either dropped him or the lbw has been given not out and we haven’t referred them. Lyon has always had some success against him, we’ve just got to back him up and grab those chances or learn how to use the DRS a little better

“(Stokes) has had a way of putting us under pressure and forcing bowlers to go away (from their plans) or for me to change fields. That’s because of the pressure he puts you under and the skill he’s got.”

Paine came agonisingly close to becoming the first Australia skipper since 2001 to retain the Ashes urn in England before Stokes’ masterclass at Headingley but the wicketkeeper batsman remains confident he can finish the job in the upcoming two Tests.

“Yes, it wasn’t our finest moment in that last hour … but we’ve played some fantastic cricket in the first three Test matches,” he said.

“If we can continue to do what we’ve been doing for a little bit longer, we’ll have that Ashes urn back in Australia. I’ve been really proud of the way the group’s handled it, both the playing group and our staff.

“Losses like that can wear groups down and break groups apart, but I’ve been really proud of the way the boys have stuck together and how we’ve moved on quickly.”

The fourth and penultimate Ashes Test between England and Australia is slated to get underway at Old Trafford on September 4.

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