India captain Virat Kohli was on Thursday rested from the upcoming three-match T20 series against Bangladesh while Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dube was rewarded with a maiden call-up for his “phenomenal” exploits with the India A team.
The prolific Sanju Samson and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal returned to the side for the T20 Internationals.
The 24-year-old Samson from Kerala has played his only T20I, against Zimbabwe in 2015. A regular in the India A set up, Samson has been rewarded for a good Vijay Hazare Trophy season, having amassed 410 runs in eight innings, including a double-century earlier this month.
Dashing all-rounder Hardik Pandya was not discussed in the selection meeting as he underwent a surgery in the UK for a back injury this month, paving the way for the 26-year-old rookie Dube’s inclusion in the shortest format.
Dube pipped Vijay Shankar as the second choice all-rounder, primarily based on his big-hitting prowess.
Chairman of selection committee MSK Prasad said, “You can see, earlier we had Hardik Pandya, then we also tried Vijay Shankar. All of us agreed in unison that the role we have, he (Dube) fits in very well.
“He bats aggressively, his performances in the India A Series in West Indies and also against South Africa in the ODIs (for India A) was phenomenal. He has gone up by leaps and bounds, a notch higher and we are convinced about it.”
As has been the case in the past, Rohit Sharma will lead the squad in Kohli’s absence.
Apart from the three-match T20 series which starts in New Delhi on November 3, followed by matches at Rajkot and Nagpur on November 7 and 10 respectively, Bangladesh will also play two Tests as part of the World Championship, in Indore and Kolkata, from November 14-18 and November 22-26 respectively.
The upcoming tour was on Monday thrown into jeopardy after the Bangladesh players refused to participate in any cricketing activity until their demands, including a hike in salary, were met.
However, the tour was back on track after the cricketers, led by star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, on Wednesday called off their strike after getting assurance from the country’s board that all their demands will be met.
The squad for the Test series against the neighbours remained unchanged after India’s 3-0 whitewash of South Africa recently. Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, who picked up four wickets on his Test debut against South Africa, was not considered for selection.
Shahbaz, though, was not part of the original squad against the Proteas, coming in as replacement for the injured Kuldeep Yadav ahead of the Ranchi Test.
Also finding a place in the T20 squad was Mumbai seamer Shardul Thakur while all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was rested.
Rishabh Pant has been the natural heir to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who hasn’t featured in any international fixture since India’s exit from the 50-over World Cup earlier this year, but Samson could now push him for a slot in the XI.
Delhi pacer Navdeep Saini was omitted on fitness grounds, paving the way for Shardul, who has played the last of his T20Is in March 2018.
“Experienced pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar could make a comeback from injury in the next series (against the West Indies),” chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said.
“Navdeep Saini was not available, that is the reason we picked up Shardul Thakur,” he added.
Injured pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah’s return will take longer, he added.
Both Bumrah and Hardik underwent surgeries in the UK earlier this month for back injuries.
When asked about Chahal, he said, “With regards to him, we wanted to try out Chahal and that’s the reason we are giving him so many opportunities.”
India’s squad for T20I series against Bangladesh:
Rohit Sharma (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant(wk), Washington Sundar, Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Shivam Dube, Shardul Thakur
Squad for Test series against Bangladesh:
Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Saha (wk), R Jadeja, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant