Jadeja Back as Pujara-Rahane Are Dropped for SL Series; Rohit Named Test Captain
Ravindra Jadeja and Sanju Samson have been named in the T20I squad for the Sri Lanka series.
India’s middle-order batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have been dropped from the squad for the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka.
The BCCI’s Chief Selector Chetan Sharma also confirmed on Saturday that Rohit Sharma will be the Test captain for the Indian men’s team with Jasprit Bumrah named as his deputy. The appointment of Rohit, already the white-ball captain of India, makes him the full-time all-format captain for India, completing the transition from Virat Kohli.
Along expected lines, the selectors have made a few changes in the Test squad with senior players such as Wriddhiman Saha and Ishant Sharma also missing the squad.
Meanwhile, ace India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has also comeback into the squad after an injury layoff for both the Test and T20Is. R Ashwin too has been included in the Test squad, but his selection is subject to his fitness.
Chetan Sharma said that the players like Rahane, Pujara, Saha and Ishant have all been advised to play the Ranji Trophy.
"The selection committee came to the decision after thinking for long and had spoken to both (Rahane and Pujara) of them. We had told them that we will not consider them for two Test matches against Sri Lanka. The doors are absolutely open for them and (we) told them to go and play in the Ranji Trophy. Just for the two-Test matches, selectors decided to give chance to other cricketers," explained Sharma.
In between, the people who have been given chances, we will see how they are going to do. We are nobody to close doors on anybody. This is cricket, where you make runs or pick wickets and play for the country, that's the most important aspect," said Sharma.
"Till then, I have requested all four of them, even Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha, to play Ranji Trophy, which is very important as selectors are taking Ranji Trophy seriously, especially with it happening after so long. We selectors are at every venue in the Ranji Trophy and seeing how the players are going about. We spoke to all four of them immediately after the South Africa tour and told them, 'We will not pick you for the two Tests and you go play in Ranji Trophy'," added Sharma.
Uncapped left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar has been brought into the squad with Axar Patel continuing to recover whereas KS Bharat has taken over Saha's spot as the second keeper in the Test squad. The 18-member squad also sees a return for Kuldeep Yadav in a spin-heavy attack. The pace attack has Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav.
Opener Priyank Panchal, who was a part of the squad party in South Africa, has held on to his spot following the omissions of Rahane and Pujara while Shubman Gill makes a comeback as well after missing the tour due to injury.
Chetan Sharma also confirmed that Hardik Pandya is an important part of the national team set-up and will be considered once he is fully fit to bowl. The head of the selection committee also said that the instruction to play the Ranji Trophy stands for Hardik as well. When asked about the reaction to Hardik not playing Ranji Trophy, Sharma said that it was a question that needed to be directed to the player and state association and not the national selectors.
Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant have been rested for the T20s against Sri Lanka, while the duo will return for the Tests after that.
Shardul Thakur meanwhile has been rested for the entirety of the Sri Lanka series. KL Rahul and Washington Sundar are still recovering from injury and will miss the SL series. Rahul's absence means that Sanju Samson gets the nod for the Indian T20 squad along with Ishan Kishan as the two wicket-keeper batters.
India and Sri Lanka are set to play three T20Is in Lucknow and Dharamsala and two Tests in Mohali and Bengaluru respectively.
T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Md Siraj, Sanju Samson (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Avesh Khan
Test squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Mayank Agarwal, Priyank Panchal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, R Pant, KS BharatR Ashwin (subject to fitness), R Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, J Bumrah (vc), Md. Shami, Md. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Saurabh Kumar
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