India vs West Indies team selection: Bhuvneshwar, Shami return as India fall back on tried and tested for West Indies series
Based on his fitness test before the first Test in Indore and his bowling in Uttar Pradesh’s two Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy matches, where he returned figures of 0/13 and 1/23, seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar made a comeback to India’s limited-overs squads for the West Indies series next month. The outgoing MSK Prasad-led selection committee met with captain Virat Kohli and BCCI president Sourav Ganguly in Kolkata to pick the ODI and T2OI squads for the West Indies series and Kumar’s name featured in both.
Captain Virat Kohli, who was rested from the three-match T20I series against Bangladesh, was back to lead the side. Also, the return of regulars like Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja in the T20I side suggest that India are close to finding their best combination after experimenting with Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar for a brief period. Krunal, however, has enough time to stage a comeback.
Test team pace spearhead Mohammed Shami, who has been breathing fire with the red ball, was also named in the T20I squad. This gives a clear indication that India are still ready to fall back on trusted soldiers in their quest to find the perfect balance before the T20I World Cup next year in Australia. Shami had last played a T20I back in 2017 against the West Indies.
Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dube, who made his debut in the Bangladesh T20Is, not only managed to retain his place in the T20I side but also earned his maiden ODI call-up as first-choice Hardik Pandya continues to be out of action because of a back surgery. Kumar was out of action ever since returning from West Indies. There was no official word about the nature of his injury but he reportedly had a back problem that was troubling him for the last 18 months or so. Kumar has been training at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore for the last few months to regain fitness.
Kumar’s comeback meant someone from the pace attack had to make way. The choice wasn’t difficult at all as India finally lost their patience with left-arm medium-pacer Khaleel Ahmed. After a dismal outing in T20I series against Bangladesh—1/37, 1/44, 0/27 were his figures—Khaleel was axed from both the squads.
The selection committee decided to stick with Rishabh Pant. Sanju Samson was left out of the squad without being given a game. But with Kohli back and Rohit Sharma not rested, it would have been tough to accommodate a back-up keeper. Sharma was not given a break despite featuring in about 60 matches (including IPL) this year. Hindustan Times has learnt that the selectors did not want to put extra pressure on Shikhar Dhawan by teaming him with a new opening partner when he is finding his footing in the shortest format.
T20I Schedule: December 6 (Mumbai), December 8 (Thiruvananthapuram), December 11 (Hyderabad) ODI schedule: December 15 (Chennai), December 18 (Visakhapatnam), December 22 (Cuttack).
T20I squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
ODI squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shivam Dube, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
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