Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have returned to the Indian T20I squad after an absence of more than a year in the format of the three-match series against Afghanistan, India's last T20I series before the T20 World Cup in June.
Rohit has been named captain while Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav, who led the team in his absence, are injured and unavailable for selection.
Rohit and Kohli have not played T20Is since India's semi-final defeat to England in the T20 World Cup in November 2022, opting to prioritize Test cricket and ODIs in the lead-up to the final of the World Test Championship and ODI World Cup in 2023. Their choice now, which comes after… That India's chief selector Ajit Agarkar traveled to South Africa during the New Year's Test in Cape Town means both players are back in India's plans for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the United States.
Hardik has mostly led India in T20Is since the 2022 T20 World Cup, and Suryakumar stood in as captain after Hardik injured his ankle during the 2023 ODI World Cup. Suryakumar captained India in the five-match T20I series at home against Australia and three T20Is in South Africa in December but was also ruled out for two months due to an ankle injury sustained in South Africa. Both Hardik and Suryakumar are expected to return to the Indian Premier League in March.
Ruturaj Gaikwad was not selected as he continues to treat a finger injury he sustained in South Africa last month. There is no place for KL Rahul in the 15-member squad, while Ishan Kishan has withdrawn, citing that he needs a break to help him refocus on his game. Kishan also missed the two-Test series in South Africa for the same reason.
Wicketkeeper Jitesh Sharma, who was part of the T20I series against both Australia and South Africa recently, has retained his place and Sanju Samson, who has not been in India's T20I plans since touring Ireland with a second-string side in August last year, comes in as his backup. Samson made his maiden international century during the ODI tour of South Africa last month.
Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dube also got another crack at T20Is after an impressive performance in IPL 2023 where he was Chennai Super Kings' batsman in the middle. Diop was recently part of the India squad that won gold at the Asian Games in Hangzhou in October last year. From there, he went on to the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy and produced some useful cameos for Mumbai in smashing the order. But his role with the ball was minimal.
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj have been rested considering their workloads ahead of the upcoming five-Test series at home against England. Shreyas Iyer and Ravindra Jadeja, who was vice-captain during the South Africa T20Is in which India drew 1-1, were also absent. Jadeja missed the first Test against South Africa due to a neck spasm.
Deepak Chahar, who was selected for the South Africa T20Is but did not feature due to a personal emergency, was completely absent, with selectors still standing with Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan and Mukesh Kumar. Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar and Ravi Bishnoi make up the spin attack. Kuldeep, who picked five in his last T20I in South Africa, took three wickets for Uttar Pradesh in their Ranji Trophy first-round match against Kerala.
After the three T20Is against Afghanistan on January 11, 14 and 17, India host England from January 25 to March 11, after which the players will disperse to join their respective IPL squads for the 2024 season, which will end just a fortnight ago. The T20 World Cup starts on June 1.
India's T20I squad for the series against Afghanistan
Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Yashavi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dubey, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh . , Avish Khan, Mukesh Kumar
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