Hardik Pandya has been selected in a 15-man squad for the three-match home T20I series versus South Africa.
The 25-year-old all-rounder, who far played at the 2019 World Cup, was relaxed from the ongoing tour of West Indies after picking up a minor niggle during the latter stages of the marquee 50-over tournament in England.
Primary selection fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested as India continue their selection for backup fast bowling options for their T20 team ahead of next year’s World Cup in Australia.
MS Dhoni, who took a two-month holiday at the end of the World Cup, remains to miss out furthering the uncertainty around his future in international cricket.
Selecting a really young pace attack – Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini and Deepak Chahar have cumulatively played 16 T20Is – the return of Hardik Pandya will support an already strong looking batting order while taking in the added dimension of his fast bowling.
By opting to not replace the wrist spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, the MSK Prasad-led selection panel has also thrown its weight behind Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar and Rahul Chahar – three of who can also break in with the bat – as India continue exploring different combinations ahead of next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
The three-match T20I series versus South Africa starts on September 15 in Dharamsala with subsequent games in Mohali (September 18) and Bengaluru (September 22).
This will be followed by a three-Test series starting on October 2.
India Team Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini