Dhoni's inclusion for T20I series against New Zealand would silence detractors who had started to write an obituary for the celebrated wicketkeeper-batsman's career. Pant looks to have paid the price for throwing away his wicket too easily too often.
New Delhi: The Indian selectors on Monday announced the teams for the ODI series in Australia and New Zealand and the T20I series in New Zealand. Significantly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been brought back for T20Is, which puts to rest all rumours of his career drawing to a close after he was excluded for the T20I series against West Indies and Australia.
A big surprise is also the exclusion of Rishabh Pant from the one-dayers against both Trans-Tasman neighbours.
The hard-hitting wicket-keeper-batsman Pant had made his ODI debut in the recently-concluded home series against West Indies, playing three out of five matches in the series. His returns were, however, nothing special. His T20I performance against the Windies was better, with the high-point being a 38-ball 58 in Chennai. His performance with the bat in the Australia tour so far (T20Is and Tests) have not been extraordinary.
India’s squad for T20I series against New Zealand: Virat(Capt), Rohit (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed— BCCI (@BCCI) December 24, 2018
India’s squad for ODI series against Australia and New Zealand: Virat (Capt), Rohit (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar, Rayudu, DK, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami— BCCI (@BCCI) December 24, 2018
Pant, though, is widely considered to be the Dhoni's successor, particularly given the impact he is known to make with the bat. Dhoni is the only specialist wicketkeeper in the ODI squad for Australia and New Zealand (unless you consider KL Rahul and Kedar Jadhav, who can don the big gloves if needed.). This ODI axe may, however, be interpreted as the selectors considering that Pant's temperament is still not up to scratch for formats of the game longer than T20Is. Pant's tendency of throwing his wicket away, which has been a feature of his batting in the ongoing Test series Down Under, may have gone against him.
Dinesh Karthik has also been brought in for ODIs after not finding a place in the squad against the Windies. Key all-rounder Hardik Pandya makes a return after injury. Mohammad Shami, who was left out of the ODI squad against the Windies after the first two matches, has also been included in the squad. Shami has been brought back for the T20Is too. He had last played in a T20I against the Windies way back in July 2017 and has only played seven T20Is in his career.
Left-arm quick Khaleel Ahmed, who had impressed with 3/13 in the fourth ODI against the Windies at Mumbai, has found a place in all the three squads (ODIs against Australia and New Zealand and T20Is against New Zealand).
For the T20Is against New Zealand, Kedar Jadhav makes a return. He had played the shortest format last against Australia in October 2017.
India are scheduled to play three ODIs against Australia from January 12-18, 2019. They will then travel to New Zealand to play five ODIs and three T20Is from January 23 to February 10, 2019.
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Last Updated Dec 24, 2018, 7:06 PM IST