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West Indies series: Team India take wrist-spin route

The Telegraph learns that Ashwin has been rested because of a niggle and will need at least three weeks to recover
Kuldeep Yadav with ODI captain Rohit Sharma.
Kuldeep Yadav with ODI captain Rohit Sharma.
File Photo

Our Special Correspondent   |   Calcutta   |   Published 28.01.22, 01:16 AM

Alarmed by the lack of penetrative firepower in the middle overs, which has been largely blamed for the 0-3 loss in the ODIs in South Africa, the national selectors have decided to try out wrist spinners in an effort to add some depth to the bowling.

Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav and rookie leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi have been included in the ODI squad for the three-match series against the West Indies.

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Bishnoi, the 21-year-old wrong’un specialist, is also in the T20I squad and is expected to provide the X-factor that has been missing in the ranks.

Bishnoi has already been picked up by new IPL franchise Lucknow Super Giants as one of their ‘retained’ players along with KL Rahul and Marcus Stoinis. He has 24 wickets from 23 matches in the IPL with an average of 25.25 and economy rate of 6.96.

Limited-overs captain Rohit Sharma is back to lead the side after recovering from a hamstring injury in the home series starting February 6 in Ahmedabad. The T20Is will be held in Calcutta.

The trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Jayant Yadav were only able to take three wickets in 59 overs, prompting head coach Rahul Dravid to say that middle-overs bowling was “an area in the game we have been behind a little bit”.

Ashwin hasn’t been picked for this series. Though the BCCI media release doesn’t mention anything about the off-spinner, The Telegraph learns that he has been rested because of a niggle and will need at least three weeks to recover. He is expected to be fit for the Sri Lanka Tests, which begin in Bangalore on February 25. Washington Sundar takes his place as the first-choice finger spinner.

Vice-captain KL Rahul will miss the first ODI but will be available for the rest of the series. Fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have been rested. Bhuvneshwar Kumar gets another lifeline after finding a place in the T20I squad.

Pacer Avesh Khan, who had a stellar IPL season in 2021, features in both squads.

It is learnt that Hardik Pandya’s name did come up for discussion but the selectors didn’t wish to rush his comeback. He hasn’t attained full fitness to resume his bowling duties and will use the upcoming IPL to test how he manages his workload. Hardik has been appointed captain of the Ahmedabad franchise.

Ravindra Jadeja will also spend more time in rehab before making a comeback. The only surprise in the squad has been batter Deepak Hooda, who received his maiden ODI call-up.

THE SQUADS

ODIs: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan

T20Is: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Bishnoi, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel



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