What's the story?
Batsman Dinesh Karthik and pacer Shardul Thakur have been drafted back into the Indian ODI setup for the upcoming series against New Zealand. Right-handed batsman KL Rahul has been left out of the 15-member squad.
"Karthik's inclusion is a reward for the runs he has been scoring.There is no particular reason [behind Rahul's omission] because Ajinkya [Rahane] has done well as an opener. He (Rahul) will play Board President's XI or the Ranji Trophy. What's the point in him just being in the squad and not playing? We will see how it goes [as far as his batting position is concerned]. Because, as of now, this is the best combination." a BCCI official told ESPNcricinfo.
"We are trying to rotate everybody. We are open to different combinations and options. DK instead of Rahul in the middle order is also a part of the process," he added.
In case you didn't know...
Karthik last played international cricket earlier this year, when India took on West Indies in a 5-match ODI series held in the Caribbean Islands. He performed well in the limited opportunities that he got but could not retain his place in the ODI squad for the Sri Lanka tour that followed.
Thakur, who made his international debut in Sri Lanka this August, was recalled to the squad in place of Mohammad Shami.
India's squad for the series is as follows:
Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur.
New Zealand will travel to India next week and will play three ODIs and three T20Is. The first game of the ODI series will take place at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on October 22.
Karthik and Thakur's inclusion paired with Rahul, Shami and Umesh Yadav's exclusion points towards the rotation policy undertaken by the national selection committee. MSK Prasad, the chairman of selectors, made it clear that the focus of the selectors going forward would be to zero in on the right squad for the ICC World Cup in England in 2019.
The selectors will thus continue to chop and change the squad with every next limited overs series so as to find the right combination suitable to represent the team in the 50-over tournament.