In a major surprise move, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday recalled veterans Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra in India’s Twenty20 squad while Punjab left-arm seamer Brainder Sran and Baroda allrounder Hardik Pandya were the new faces in the squads for the upcoming five-match ODI and three-match T20 series in Australia early next year.
The Sandeep Patil-led selection committee, which met in New Delhi on Saturday , brought back senior pacer Ishant Sharma in to the ODI team which had no place for Suresh Raina, who was overlooked to give opportunity to new players.
While Sran was named in the ODI squad, Pandya was called into the T20 team. Sran has played just one IPL match for Rajasthan Royals and has 34 wickets from 11 first-class games and 14 wickets in six matches in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Young pacer Gurkeerat Singh Mann has also been retained in the ODI squad. Mann was in the India squad for the ODI and T20 series at home against South Africa, but is yet to make his international debut.
The selectors also announced that Mahendra Singh Dhoni will continue to lead the Indian ODI and T20 teams till the World T20 Championship which is to be held in India in March-April next year.
Shami, who has recovered from his knee injury, has been named in both the ODI and T20 squads alongside Jadeja.
Meanwhile, experienced batsman Raina was dropped from the ODI squad but has been retained for the T20Is.
There were a number of players like Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ambati Rayudu, Mohit Sharma, Amit Mishra and Harbhajan Singh, who were omitted from the ODI squad.
Off-spinner Harbhajan, however, kept his place in the T20 squad. Rishi Dhawan and Manish Pandey were also included in the ODI squad announced by BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur.
The squad has expectedly been packed with seamers, keeping in mind the conditions in Australia where India will play five ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals from January 12 to 31.
The selectors preferred to give another opportunity to Yuvraj and Nehra, both of who had represented with distinction in the past.
“Keeping in mind World T20 lot of players this was chance to pick for World T20 and use it as a platform. Those not selected were all discussed. We have extended the pool,” Chairman of the selection committee Sandip Patil told reporters after the meeting.
Speaking about Yuvraj and Nehra’s comeback, Patil said: “Yuvi is special and captain is happy to have him back. We can’t guarantee him place but chance to perform will be given. Nehra is a consistent performer in T20 format. He will be useful in the team. We will need experienced players in the T20 WC.
“Australia tour will give selectors a chance to take a look at other players. Suresh Raina not in the ODIs is a chance to see other players. He is still there in T20 team. In the last three years we have given chance to many youngsters but for World T20 we need experience,” Patil said, explaining the decision to include veterans.
The team’s batting has remained more or less the same with Dhawan, Rohit, Kohli, Rahane comprising the top-order in both the squads.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel are the two specialist spinners while all-rounders Jadeja and Gurkeerat will provide more variety to the ODI attack.
The pace department will be spearheaded by Ishant and will also have Shami, Umesh Yadav, Rishi Dhawan and Sran for support.
India will open their tour with an ODI at Perth on January 12, followed by matches in Brisbane [Jan 15], Melbourne [Jan 17], Canberra [Jan 20] and Sydney [Jan 23].
The T20s will be played at Adelaide (Jan 26), Melbourne (Jan 29) and Sydney (Jan 31).
ODI squad: MS Dhoni (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Mohammed Shami, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Singh Mann, Rishi Dhawan, Barinder Singh Sran.
T20I squad: MS Dhoni (c), Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Harbhajan SinghShikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra.