After missing the entire series against South Africa, India’s limited-overs skipper Rohit Sharma is expected to return to international cricket when they face West Indies. Ravichandran Ashwin, on the other hand, will be unavailable for the home series.
Ashwin has now secured his position in all three forms, having returned to the ODI setup after almost four years away. However, the spinner will be out of action due to a persistent injury, as he has requested BCCI leave for treatment, according to a report.
The inclusion of Ashwin in the limited-overs fold is part of the long-term strategy, according to the article, with the T20 World Cup this year and the ODI World Cup next year in mind. Ravichandran Ashwin’s knowledge and expertise are needed by the team, according to the head coach, captain, and selectors.
- Hitman is back!
In contrast, Rohit Sharma has fully recovered and will return to the team. After being forced to miss the South Africa series due to a hamstring injury, it would be his maiden series as the full-time ODI captain.
Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya’s availability has remained a mystery. While Jadeja has been observed bowling and batting at Bengaluru’s National Cricket Academy, there has been no word about Hardik.
The selection for the six matches against West Indies – three ODIs and as many T20Is – was supposed to take place on Tuesday (January 25), but it was postponed due to the unavailability of coach Rahul Dravid and a couple of selectors, who had travelled nearly 24 hours from South Africa to reach India. The meeting of the selecting committee could potentially be held within the next two days.
Most of the other regulars appear to be eligible for selection, including former captain Virat Kohli, who has not sought any rest for the series thus far. However, as part of their workload management approach, the selectors may leave out certain significant players in favour of bringing in a few fresh faces. Jasprit Bumrah, the spearhead, may be rested, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar, his new-ball partner, may struggle to make the ODI squad.
Rishi Dhawan, who had a stellar season and led Himachal Pradesh to the Vijay Hazare Trophy, is also expected to be included in the ODI team after a six-year absence. Shahrukh Khan of Tamil Nadu is another potential contender for the three Twenty20 Internationals scheduled for Kolkata from February 16 to 20.
In the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 and Vijay Hazare Trophy, Shahrukh and Dhawan were among the standout performances. The former only added to his reputation as a finisher by clinching the title for Tamil Nadu with a last-ball six against Karnataka. Dhawan went on to captain Himachal Pradesh to their first domestic title in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, hitting 458 runs and taking 17 wickets in eight matches.
Though Venkatesh Iyer is available for the all-rounder role, the selectors want to give Dhawan a chance at least in ODIs, with the latter being considered as a T20I possibility.