Star all-rounder Hardik Pandya will lead the Indian cricket team in the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, starting on January 3 in Mumbai, the BCCI announced in a statement late on Tuesday night. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul are not part of the T20I squad. Rohit will return to lead Team India in the ODI series against the same opponents, starting on January 10. While Suryakumar Yadav will be the vice-captain of the side in the T20I series, Hardik will be Rohit’s deputy in the ODIs.
While Rohit is still recovering from a thumb injury, the BCCI press release did not state anything on whether Pandya’s appointment was a permanent change or just for one series.
Pant not included in T20Is, ODIs
The most notable absentee from both the squads was Rishabh Pant, who was part of India’s recent Test series win against Bangladesh. Wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan has been included in both the ODI and T20I squads. Sanju Samson is part of the T20I squad. Rahul, who is not part of the T20I squad, has been named as a wicketkeeper in the ODIs.
According to news agency PTI, Pant has been asked to report at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) for a knee strengthening rehabilitation programme for two weeks. Hence, he will miss the entire Sri Lanka series. But BCCI’s statement doesn’t mention whether he has been rested or dropped.
Dhawan not part of ODI squad
Another big omission is Shikhar Dhawan from the ODI team. Ironically, even one series before the Bangladesh tour, he was leading the side in New Zealand but his dismal drop in scoring rate and also not being able to string a series of consistent scores have gone against him.
Rohit being a white-ball giant and Shubman Gill in prime ODI form with Ishan Kishan hitting fastest double hundred less than a month back, India have multiple options in the opener’s role. Hence, Dhawan seemed to have been omitted.
Hardik’s elevation as T20I skipper while being Rohit’s deputy in the ODIs might be seen as a hint of transition that the side is likely to go through in the coming months.
Pandya, who led Gujarat Titans to IPL triumph during the 2022, edition was touted as Rohit’s replacement after India lost to England in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. The T20I team has a fresh look with two uncapped pacers Shivam Mavi and Mukesh Kumar being inducted into the shortest format.
Mavi was picked by Titans for Rs 6 crore, while Bengal’s Mukesh was snapped by Delhi Capitals for Rs 5.50 crore. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Rahul Tripathi, two powerhouse IPL performers, made it to the T20I side. The ODI side boasts a more experienced look with Mohammed Shami coming back from shoulder injury.
India’s squad for Sri Lanka T20Is: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav (VC), Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, Mukesh Kumar.
India’s squad for Sri Lanka ODIs:Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya (VC), Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh.
With PTI inputs