Fit-again Shikhar Dhawan & Wriddhiman Saha are back
Wriddhiman Saha returned to the India squad after more than a year as the Bengal wicketkeeper was named in the Test squad for the tour of West Indies.
The selectors met in Mumbai on Sunday to pick the squads for three T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests in the Caribbean.
Saha’s last match for India was way back in January, 2018, in the Cape Town Test against South Africa, and thereafter he had multiple encounters with injuries.
However, Saha will probably not be the first-choice wicketkeeper as Rishabh Pant is also in the squad. Rishabh, in fact, features in all three squads — Tests, ODIs and T20Is.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as expected, made himself unavailable for the entire tour.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan also returned to India’s limited-overs squad after recovering from a thumb injury.
Speculations over captain Virat Kohli being rested for the tour were put to rest as the batting mainstay will lead India across formats. Virat, in fact, attended the selection meeting on Sunday.
While all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been rested for the entire tour, Jasprit Bumrah will play only in the Tests.
Dinesh Karthik, who was a part of India’s World Cup squad, has been dropped.
Rookie spinner Rahul Chahar emerged as the lone new face across three formats for the upcoming overseas assignments. Coming back into the ODI squad are Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey.
Rajasthan leg-spinner Rahul has been rewarded for his consistent performances in the IPL and domestic cricket with a berth in the T20I squad. Rahul’s cousin brother Deepak, a seamer, is also in the T20I squad. All-rounder Washington Sundar too has returned to the T20I squad.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who hasn’t played international cricket since December 2018, is part of a three-member spin contingent alongside Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav in the Test squad.
Quite a few of the players were picked based on their performance for India A recently. “We have taken India A performances into consideration. In the longer format, KS Bharat was very, very close to get selected. We have an unwritten norm that when an established cricketer is injured, he should get a comeback opportunity. That’s what we have given to Saha,” chief selector MSK Prasad said.
Rishabh, who was included in India’s World Cup campaign after Vijay Shankar’s toe injury, has now got a big opportunity to make a point. Vijay is yet to attain full fitness and hence has not been selected in any of the squads.
Dhawan, whose World Cup journey was cut short due to a thumb fracture during the second group game against Australia, has been declared fit.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar will spearhead the attack in the shortest format with Mohammed Shami joining him for the three ODIs. Delhi pacer Navdeep Saini has been included in the limited overs side. The selection panel also went for left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed for the limited overs leg.
“Rishabh, Wriddhiman and KS Bharat are some of the players we will be looking ahead for Test cricket. We had certain plans for the World Cup, but after that we have to give opportunities to youngsters who will go on to play for long,” Prasad said of the young faces in the limited-overs squads.
Young Prithvi Shaw was not part of the Test squad as he is recovering from an injury.
“Prithvi is not available, Hardik is also being put through a certain programme. He is not available [for the tour],” Prasad said.
India squads for the tour of West Indies
- Batsmen: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Hanuma Vihari, Mayank Agarwal
- Wicketkeepers: Wriddhiman Saha, Rishabh Pant
- Spinners: Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav
- Pacers: Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah
- Batsmen: Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer
- Wicketkeeper: Rishabh Pant
- All-rounder: Ravindra Jadeja
- Spinners: Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal,
- Pacers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini
- Batsmen: Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer
- Wicketkeeper: Rishabh Pant
- All-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar
- Spinner: Rahul Chahar
- Pacers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini