India’s new national selection committee recalled Suresh Raina while resting R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammad Shami in a 15-member squad for the first three matches of the One-day International series against New Zealand starting on October 16.
Uncapped Haryana off-spinner Jayant Yadav, who is also a competent batsman, was included in the first side chosen by the new panel headed by former India wicketkeeper MSK Prasad.
The main focus was on Raina, who has not figured in the India team since the ODI series at home against South Africa in October last year, which India lost 2-3. “We had given him a break for the Zimbabwe tour,” Prasad said in a news conference, referring to India’s last ODI series four months ago.
“We needed someone in the middle-order who can also bowl. With Jadeja, Shami and Ashwin rested because we have a long home season ahead, we needed an experienced guy who can also bowl.”
Three spinners in the side are leggie Amit Mishra, left-arm spinner Axar Patel besides Yadav. Only three pacers have made it to the squad --- Umesh Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni and all-rounder Hardik Pandya. It will also be a comeback of sorts for Mishra, who has not figured in an ODI for a year.
Punjab batsman Mandeep Singh has played three Twenty20 matches on the Zimbabwe tour, but no ODIs. However, he opened the batting and did creditably on the recent India A tour of Australia.
The first ODI will be played in Dharamsala on October 16.
Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Dhawal Kulkarni, Umesh Yadav, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav.