Umran Malik earns maiden India call up for South Africa T20Is, Cheteshwar Pujara back for England Test

Updated on May 22, 2022 05:49 PM IST

The South Africa series is slated to begin from June 9 in New Delhi. And the final Test of the series against England is scheduled to take place between July 1-5 in Edgbaston.

Umran Malik; Cheteshwar Pujara
Umran Malik; Cheteshwar Pujara

KL Rahul will be leading India when they return to action in the T20I series against South Africa starting June 9, while Cheteshwar Pujara is back in the Test squad for the fifth and final Test of the series against England, scheduled to take place between July 1-5 in Edgbaston. The T20I squad features maiden India call-up for pace sensation Umran Malik, who has set the Indian Premier League on fire for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Umran and another fresh face Arshdeep Singh, has been rewarded with India berths for their stellar performances in the ongoing IPL, whereas star all-rounder Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik make their comeback in the international set-up.

The BCCI selection committee met on Sunday to pick India squads for the two series, and as expected, senior players Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have been given a breather against South Africa to concentrate on the tour of England, where India will play three T20Is and two ODIs. Besides, India are scheduled to play two T20Is against Ireland on June 26 and 28, the squad for which is yet to be released.

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Among the notable returnees to the T20I team are Hardik and Karthik. The star all-rounder has had an impressive IPL 2022 season so far with the bat, scoring 413 runs in 13 innings at 41.30 and at a strike rate of 131.53 with four half-century scores. Hardik also bowled in eight innings, picking four wickets at an economy rate of 7.80, but the selectors are yet to confirm whether Hardik has been picked as an all-rounder or solely as a batter given that the Gujarat Titans skipper hasn't bowled in the last five matches. This is the first time Hardik has been included in the Indian team since the T20 World Cup last year. Karthik, on the other hand, has made a thunderous return to the format, scoring 287 runs for RCB in 14 matches at a strike rate of 191.33.

The T20I squad also saw a two new faces - Sunrisers Hyderabad pace sensation Umran Malik and Punjab Kings bowler Arshdeep Singh. Umran has taken IPL 2022 by a storm, picking 21 wickets in 13 matches while consistently clocking over 150 kph. Arshdeep, on the other hand, has picked 10 wickets in this season and has been superb as a death-over bowler.

Here is India's T20I squad: KL Rahul (Captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (Vice-Captain) (Wicketkeeper),Dinesh Karthik (Wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Venkatesh Iyer, Y Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, R Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik

For the final Test against England, which was rescheduled to July this year after a Covid-19 outbreak in the Indian camp during the 2021 tour, the BCCI selection committee made a few changes. Shubman Gill has replaced Mayank Agarwal while Shreyas Iyer, who had made a superb debut against New Zealand last year, takes the middle-order role in place of injured Ajinkya Rahane. Meanwhile, KS Bharat has been picked as the second-choice wicketkeeper ahead of Wriddhiman Saha. Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw, who were earlier called up for the Sri Lanka series, have not been included in the squad.

However, the most notable inclusion has been that of Pujara, who was dropped from the Test squad for the home series against Sri Lanka. The top-order batter has forced his way back into the team on the back of a stupendous runs in the County Championship where he accumulated a staggering 720 runs for Sussex at an average of 120, which include four centuries.

Here is India's Test squad for rescheduled fifth Test against England - Rohit Sharma (Capt), KL Rahul (VC), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant (Wicketkeeper), KS Bharat (Wicketkeeper), R Jadeja, R Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna

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