Jan 09, 2017
By MI Media
The Indian selectors announced the squad for both the ODIs and the T20I series against England commencing on the 15th of January. Two days prior to the selection meeting, Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his resignation as skipper of India's side in both the shorter formats of the game but indicated his intention to continue as a player. The selectors showed their faith in Virat Kohli's leadership by appointing him as skipper of both the ODI and T20I sides. They chose a squad of 15 players for both sides with as many as 10 players making it to both the squads. Here are the chosen squads for both formats:
ODI Squad: KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav.
T20I Squad: KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rishabh Pant, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Manish Pandey, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra.
Rohit Sharma's absence due to injury paved the way for a place for Shikhar Dhawan in the ODI squad as an opener after the missed the last series against New Zealand due to injury. KL Rahul is an automatic choice due to his brilliant form during the last year and will in all likelihood open the batting with Shikhar Dhawan. Manish Pandey disappointed during the ODI series against New Zealand, but the selectors have kept their faith in him because of his potential and his magnificent match winning century in the ODI against Australia at Sydney last year. The selectors have rewarded Yuvraj Singh for his brilliant form in the Ranji Trophy where he scored 672 runs in 5 matches. The fact that he can bowl useful left-arm spin and is still electric in the field worked in his favour. By selecting him the selectors have sent a message to all aspirants that performance is the only criteria for selection and that age is just a number if one can churn in good performances.
Rahane gets another chance to prove his mettle in ODIs even though he has been omitted from the T20I squad. Kedar Jadhav has done well in the limited opportunities he has got for India and the fact that he provided regular breakthroughs in the ODI series against New Zealand, means that he rightly retains his place in the squad. Hardik Pandya impressed both with the bat and with the ball during the New Zealand series and returns after missing the Test series against England with an injury. He is expected to play a crucial role as an all-rounder when India tour abroad and also keeping the Champions Trophy in mind.
There was some doubt whether Ashwin and Jadeja would be picked in the squads as they have had to share a heavy workload for the entire season and will also have to do the lion's share of the bowling during the 5 Tests against Bangladesh and Australia. However, since India don't play any other international matches in the shorter formats till the Champions Trophy they need to be given a go to get them used to bowling once again in ODIs.
Mishra was the Man of the Series against New Zealand and retains his spot. Bumrah was the find of the year for India in the pace bowling department and was chosen in both squads after his superb showing in both formats. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav are the other 2 pace bowlers chosen in the ODI Squad.
As far as the T20I squad is concerned, Shikhar has been dropped and Mandeep Singh has been included. Rishabh Pant is a welcome inclusion after a brilliant domestic season where he scored 972 runs in 8 matches in the Ranji Trophy. He will benefit from sharing the dressing room with Dhoni. Raina was initially included in the ODI squad against New Zealand but missed out due to illness and he has been included in the T20I squad where his brilliant fielding, late order hitting and useful overs of part time off-spin make him a valuable customer. Chahal had a good outing in Zimbabwe and was outstanding in the last edition of the IPL. The selectors have rightly chosen him in place of Amit Mishra, while the old warhorse Nehra makes a comeback after some good performances in the early part of 2016.
All in all, both squads have a balanced look and one can't really criticise the selectors. Kuldeep Yadav could have been selected in either of the squads to give him a feel of international cricket as he bowls left-arm wrist spin and the sheer novelty of it could unsettle the opposition. This will be India's last chance to try out new faces and fine tune their squad before the Champions Trophy in June.
Most fans will look forward to the series with anticipation and hope for some thrilling cricket.