On Saturday, the BCCI announced India’s 15-man squad to tour Zimbabwe for 3 ODIs – slated for August 18, 20 and 22 in Harare. Shikhar Dhawan will be leading this second-string squad as most of the first-choice players are rested for the Asia Cup that will commence on August 27 in the UAE.
India squad for Zimbabwe ODIs: Shikhar Dhawan (C), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna, Mohammed Siraj, Deepak Chahar.
This 3 ODI rubber in Zimbabwe could prove to be a breakthrough tour for some of the players as they eye to push themselves near India’s best eleven with the management looking to finalize a group of players heading into 2023, the year where the Asian giants will host the ODI World Cup.
For these two batsmen, the ODIs in Zimbabwe are really important for different reasons:
It is clear that Ishan Kishan has somewhat fallen out of favour of the management – as Shubman Gill opened in the ODI series vs West Indies while Kishan, who has been the touted backup opener in T20Is, was benched. Kishan has struggled in recent times, with none of his last 6 innings yielding a score of more than 30.
Also, that he has been sent to Zimbabwe means that he’s unlikely to be part of the squad for the T20 Asia Cup.
Kishan, who had smashed a fifty on his ODI debut last year in Sri Lanka, is expected to play in the middle-order in Zimbabwe as he still is apparently ahead of Gaikwad in the pecking order. He should consider this series as a chance to get back to scoring big and impactful runs to reclaim his lost stakes.
If all players are fit and available, then Sanju Samson is also unlikely to be named in the 15 for the Asia Cup. He was also excluded from the T20I squad vs West Indies but got in after KL Rahul was ruled out and Virat Kohli is on rest.
Sanju Samson has had a couple of good outings recently – he thumped his maiden T20I fifty, 77 off 42 balls vs Ireland and then his maiden ODI fifty, 54 off 51 vs West Indies. Samson remains in India’s scheme of things in both the white-ball formats; good shows in Zimbabwe will only add to his own cause.