Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli remain in the mix for the T20 World Cup and a final call on their inclusion will be taken closer to the showpiece event in June.
Perhaps the three T20Is against Afghanistan in January will provide an indication of their chances. The early half of the IPL will also act as a benchmark.
Both the senior players were not included for the white-ball leg of the series in South Africa — three T20Is and as many ODIs starting December 10 — because they had requested for a break.
At the selection meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, which was attended by head coach Rahul Dravid since Rohit is overseas, no discussion took place on their chances of playing the T20Is. But the selectors have kept the door open.
Rohit’s terrific strike rate in the just-concluded ODI World Cup and Kohli’s staggering 765 runs in 11 matches have opened up the debate on their place in the squad after the selectors decided to keep the duo out and promote a young side under Hardik Pandya.
The all-rounder is yet to recover from the injury suffered in October and Suryakumar Yadav will continue to lead the T20I side. With Rohit opting out of the ODIs as well, KL Rahul will be the captain.
The Test squad is a fair indication that the selectors want to move on keeping the future in mind. There’s no place for Ajinkya Rahane or Cheteshwar Pujara while Shreyas Iyer and Jasprit Bumrah make a comeback following their injuries.
Mohammed Shami’s inclusion in Tests is subject to fitness, the BCCI release saying the fast bowler was “currently undergoing medical treatment”.
Rahul has been included as a specialist wicketkeeper-batsman for the Tests and ODIs which will give the team more options.
The ODIs will also provide opportunities for Sanju Samson and Yuzvendra Chahal, two white-ball regulars who missed out on the ODI World Cup.
Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar have also been rested from the ODIs while Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sai Sudharsan, Rajat Patidar, Tilak Varma and Rinku Singh get a chance to showcase their talent.