India have rested the likes of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma for the tour of Zimbabwe. Interestingly, Ajinkya Rahane, who dropped for the second and third ODI in the recently concluded series against Bangladesh, has been made captain of the side.
The Cricket Lounge’s Vaibhav Sharma lists 4 biggest talking points from the squad that will tour Zimbabwe.
1) Ajinkya Rahane- The New ODI Skipper
In a very interesting move, Ajinkya Rahane has been made captain for the tour of Zimbabwe. Rahane has been in and out of India’s ODI squad. Rahane, who prefers to bat at top of the order in limited overs cricket, has been made to bat out of his comfort zone so far in his career. Rahane hasn’t made an impact batting at no. 5 and 6 in ODIs, but he is still young in his career and the selectors have shown immense faith in his abilities by making him lead.
2) Robin Uthappa
Robin Uthappa has been knocking on the doors of selectors with consistent performance at the domestic level and also in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Uthappa is a very attacking batsman and if scores runs consistently in this series, he might push Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan for the opening slot. Uthappa will also be eyeing a place in the T20 squad for the T20 World Cup which is scheduled to take place next year.
3) Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh bowled well in his comeback series against Bangladesh and now he has been rewarded with a place in the ODI squad as well. Harbhajan was very impressive in the last season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and his role was instrumental in Mumbai Indians’ triumph. With Ravindra Jadeja horribly out of form, India are looking for the second spinner and Harbhajan would be desperate to go out and prove his metal against Zimbabwe. This can be a new start for Harbhajan Singh.
4) Domestic Talent
By picking the likes of Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Karn Sharma and Sandeep Sharma, the selectors have sent out a strong message that the performances at the domestic level hold great importance in the selection process.
India Squad for tour of Zimbabwe: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Ambati Rayudu (wk), Kedar Jadhav (wk), Robin Uthappa (wk), Murali Vijay, Manoj Tiwary, Manish Pandey, Harbhajan Singh, Akshar Patel, Karn Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma.