Rohit Sharma rested, Hardik Pandya and Shikhar Dhawan return as India announce squad for South Africa ODI series
Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, all-rounder Hardik Pandya returned to the India ODI squad for three-match series against South Africa starting from March 12. Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar and Pandya proved their fitness in the recently-concluded Dy Patil T20 Cup. Meanwhile, KL Rahul, who was excellent in the limited-overs series against New Zealand, but not included in the Test squad, has also been included in the squad.
Limited-overs vice captain Rohit Sharma was rested from the series. He had suffered a calf injury which had ruled him out of the New Zealand Test series. But with youngster Prithvi Shaw in the 15-man squad, it will once again be a three-way contest for the openers slot between Shaw, Dhawan and Rahul.
Though, India persisted with Rahul as the wicketkeeper in the New Zealand series, Rishabh Pant has been included in the squad. It remains to be seen if India go with Rahul or Pant in the playing XI in the series.
This is the first series in which all-rounder Pandya has been included in since his back surgery in October. Post his surgery, Pandya had initially hired the services of Delhi Capitals trainer Rajnikanth Sivagnanam to undergo rehab with Team India physio Yogesh Parmar keeping an eye on Pandya’s progress post his back surgery in October.
But the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly made it clear that all players must report to the NCA to undergo rehab.
The Indian team management then convinced Pandya to head to the NCA when he trained with the players at the Wankhede Stadium before the ODI against Australia. Having completed the process, he returned to the field in the ongoing T20 tournament in Navi Mumbai and has already hit two hundreds.
Speaking on his fitness, Pandya said: “For me it is a good platform to see where I am currently and test my body. I am really happy with the way things have gone.”
The first ODI will be played on March 12 in Dharamshala and the second on March 15 in Lucknow. The final match will be played in Kolkata on March 18.
India squad for three-match series against South Africa: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Virat Kohli (C), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill.