Virat Kohli rested from India-Sri Lanka T20I series, Women's squad also announced
Man of the series from India’s whitewash of Australia in the T20I series Down Under, Virat Kohli has been rested from India’s squad for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, which starts on February 9.
All of the remaining members, who took part in India’s 3-0 T20I series win over Australia were in the squad for the Sri Lanka series. Yuvraj Singh, who impressed in the final game and Ashish Nehra will have another opportunity to prove their worth to the side and make the cut for the World T20 squad.
The top-order, which was settled in the T20I series against Australia but the absence of Kohli is likely to mean either Suresh Raina (who has played at No.3 for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL) or Ajinkya Rahane will take Kohli’s place at No.3
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rahane, who were both injured and didn’t take part in the T20I series took their place in this squad. Manish Pandey, who was India’s hero in the final ODI but was absent from the T20I squad was also picked.
Arguably the biggest surprise was the inclusion of Pawan Negi, which will mean India will go into the series with four front-line spinners and just three pace bowlers. Negi only played two matches in the Deodhar Trophy but picked up three wickets and in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, his form with the bat was better than the ball.
In the domestic T20 tournament, Negi scored 173 runs at an average of 86.50 and strike rate of 173, while he only picked up 6 wickets at an economy of 8.7 in 9 matches for Delhi. The inclusion of Negi over Irfan Pathan, Hardik Pandya’s Baroda teammate, who was in sublime form with both bat and ball in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy raises a few eyebrows.
The three matches will take place on February 9, 12 and 14. Sri Lanka, who are coming on the back of a bad drubbing at the hands of the Kiwis in New Zealand will be looking to bounce and go into the Asia Cup, which starts on February 24 in high spirits.
Sri Lanka, themselves, have rested plenty of key performers for the three-match series, including captain T20 Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara and Nuwan Pradeep.
T20I squad: MS Dhoni (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pawan Negi.
The squad for the Women's ODI and T20 series against Sri Lanka was also announced. Mithali Raj will captain India in both formats and the squads for both formats are relatively straightforward.
Women’s T20I squad: Mithali Raj (Captain), Smriti Mandhana, Veda Krishnamurthy, Harmanpreet Kaur, Anuja Patil, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Sushma Verma, Poonam Yadav, VR Vanitha, Sneh Rana, Thirushkamini MD, Ekta Bisht, Niranjana Nagarajan.
Women’s ODI squad: Mithali Raj (Captain), Smriti Mandhana, Veda Krishnamurthy, Harmanpreet Kaur, Thirushkamini MD, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Sushma Verma, Poonam Yadav, Deepti Sharma, Punam Raut, R Kalpana, Niranjana Nagarajan, Preeti Bose.