Calcutta: Nineteen-year-old Sanju Samson and all-rounder Karn Sharma are the new faces in the 17-man India squad, selected in Mumbai on Tuesday, for the five-match One-Day International series and a one-off T20 against England. The first ODI will be played on August 25.
With the World Cup beginning in February, the Indian selectors are looking ahead and want to put youngsters to the test. This will be an opportunity for Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman Samson and Railways spinner Karn Sharma to prove their mettle.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is back at the helm of the ODI team, having missed the Asia Cup and the three-match ODI series that followed, both in Bangladesh earlier this year.
Mumbai seamer Dhawal Kulkarni, who was picked in the ODI squad for the home series against West Indies last year but then ruled out with injury, has been given another chance. Kulkarni, yet to play for the senior team, was also part of the squad that toured New Zealand in 2009.
Suresh Raina, who was dropped from the ODI squad for the Asia Cup but led a second-string team to Bangladesh in June, is in the squad. The Asia Cup was the last time India fielded their full-strength ODI team. Fast bowlers Mohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav have also been retained from the squad which played in Bangladesh.
Ten members of the Asia Cup squad have been retained. There are really no surprises in the inclusion of Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Ambati Rayudu are the others who had been in the Asia Cup squad. Among those missing from that squad is Cheteshwar Pujara, who is more of a Test option now. Legspinner Amit Mishra, too, will not be seen in action due to injury.
“Amit Mishra had been ruled out since he is undergoing treatment and rehab following a back injury,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said, after the squad was announced. Samson was part of the India Under-19 team at the World Cup earlier this year.
He finished as India A’s highest run-scorer in the recently-concluded quadrangular one-day series in Australia, with 244 runs from seven innings. Kulkarni was the leading wicket-taker in the quadrangular, with 14 scalps in six matches.
The first of the five ODIs will be played in Bristol on August 25, with matches in Cardiff, Nottingham, Birmingham and Leeds following. The T20 will be played in Birmingham on September 7.
Pacer Umesh Yadav, who did not play in the Asia Cup, has been included in the squad. But Ishwar Pandey, Varun Aaron and wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik, have not been favoured with a look in this time around.
There was no place again for senior pros Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh. Ishant Sharma, who is part of the Test squad, was also not included.