India have announced their squads for the upcoming One-Day International and Twenty20 series against South Africa, with each featuring an uncapped player. In the selection for the first three ODI matches, there is a first call up for all-rounder Gurkeerat Singh Mann, while left-arm seam-bowler Sreenath Aravind has been chosen for the three T20 internationals.
India begin their competitive action against the South Africans with the T20 series on Oct. 2, before competing in five ODIs and finally four Test matches, running through until Dec. 7. They head into the fixtures on the back of a successful tour of Sri Lanka when they emerged with an impressive 2-1 Test Series win, following ODI and T20 success in Zimbabwe earlier in the summer.
It is, though, the World Twenty20 that is increasingly in the minds of the selectors. India will play host to the tournament in March and April next year, and chief selector Sandeep Patil revealed that the selection of Aravind was based on a desire to try out those in form domestically. Aravind, who was called up for the ODI series against England in 2011, impressed in this year’s Indian Premier League.
“We wanted have more variations in the side,” Patil said, reports The Times of India. “Looking at the T20 WC, we wanted to give more opportunities to players who have done well in the domestic circuit and also in the triangular and the ongoing India A series. We would like to test and give more opportunities to bowlers to arrive at a best combination before the WC.”
Gurkeerat, meanwhile, has been rewarded for his recent performances with India’s A squad against Australia and Bangladesh. And he has effectively replaced Ravindra Jadeja, with the 26-year-old paying the price for a poor year with the bat and the ball.
“We’ve picked Gurkeerat looking at his all-round ability,” Patil said, according to The Indian Express. “Having more all-rounders is the need of the hour. Gurkeerat has come up very well over the last two years. We’ve seen him in the India A matches and also in domestic cricket where he plays for Punjab. And we are happy with the way he performed.”
Another experienced player not included is fast bowler Mohammed Shami, who is still working his way back from knee surgery. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, though, will return to action as captain of both the ODI and T20 teams. Dhoni, 34, stood down as Test captain last December, and came under pressure in the one-day format after India’s defeat to Bangladesh in June. But, despite Virat Kholi winning his first full series as Test captain in Sri Lanka, the selectors have denied they considered making a change for the shorter formats.
India T20 Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Stuart Binny, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Amit Mishra, Sreenath Aravind.
India squad for first three ODIs: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
ODI and T20I Schedule (all times EDT)
1st ODI: Friday, Oct. 2, 9:30 a.m. (Himachai Pradesh Cricket Association, Dharmasala)
2nd ODI: Monday, Oct. 5, 9:30 a.m. (Barabati Stadium, Cuttack)
3rd ODI: Thursday, Oct. 8:, 9:30 a.m. (Eden Gardens, Kolkata)
1st ODI: Saturday, Oct. 10, 11:30 a.m. (Green Park, Kanpur)
2nd ODI: Wednesday, Oct. 14, 4 a.m. (Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore)
3rd ODI: Sunday, Oct. 18, 4 a.m. (Saurashtra Cricket Association, Rajkot)
4th ODI: Thursday, Oct. 22, 4 a.m. (MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
5th ODI: Sunday, Oct. 25, 4 a.m. (Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai)