5 Biggest Takeaways From India’s Squads For T20Is And ODIs Against SL
India will kick start their 2023 and their home season by hosting Sri Lanka for 3 T20Is and 3 ODIs.
The trio of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Virat Kohli have been rested for the T20I series and all of them will return for the ODI series. The injured duo of Bumrah and Jadeja are not yet cleared to make international comebacks.
Here are the squads declared by the BCCI:
India’s squad for Sri Lanka T20Is: Hardik Pandya (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav (vc), Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, Mukesh Kumar
India’s quad for Sri Lanka ODIs: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya (vc), Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh
Here are the 5 key takeaways from India’s T20I and ODI squads to face Sri Lanka:
End of the road for Shikhar Dhawan in the Indian colours?
Most likely is the end of Shikhar Dhawan in India’s ODI team. After the year both Shubman Gill had in the ODIs - average of 70, strike rate of 102, 1 century and 4 fifties in 12 ODIs - and Ishan Kishan too - average of 59, strike rate of 109 with 2 fifties and a double hundred vs Bangladesh - senior opener, 37-year-old Shikhar Dhawan was likely to be dropped.
Dhawan himself had a disappointing 2022: average of 34, strike rate of 74, 6 fifties and no century in 22 ODIs. So his exclusion doesn’t come as a surprise as India look for better form and attacking openers than Dhawan.
KL Rahul’s place on the line after being removed as vice-captain
It seems that KL Rahul has lost some faith from the selectors regarding his place in the white-ball teams. Rahul has had a tough time with the bat since returning from his injury in the Asia Cup.
He had been Sharma’s deputy across formats last year - and even led in South Africa and Bangladesh when Sharma was injured. But now, it is Hardik Pandya who is named the ODI vice-captain, in presence of KL Rahul in the squad.
This could be an indicator to KL Rahul from the selectors that he need to get consistent at run-scoring in white-ball cricket, or else, there are plenty of contenders waiting in the wings to take his middle-order spot.
Bhuvneshwar, Shami, Ashwin ousted from T20Is
The exclusion of Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the T20I squad is a big call made by the selectors. He played 32 T20Is last year, picking 37 wickets, But at the T20 World Cup, he managed just 4 wickets - out of which 3 were vs Zimbabwe and Netherlands - in 6 matches, and failed to give India an early breakthrough in the semi-final vs England. He hasn’t played an ODI since January 2022.
Shami and Ashwin are also dropped from the T20I team following their underwhelming performance in the T20 WC.
Yuzvendra Chahal is the only leg-spinner in both squads, Bishnoi ignored
Chahal was not selected for the 2021 T20 WC, and was on the bench throughout the 2022 T20 WC. Ironically, Chahal is the leading wicket-taker for India across formats (he plays only ODIs and T20Is) in 2022 with 44 scalps in 32 bowling innings, and he is also India’s all-time second-highest T20I wicket-taker.
Young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi played in 10 T20Is and one ODI last year, but hasn’t donned the Indian jersey for more than three months.
Apparently, the selectors and team management are wanting to once again give Chahal a long run of matches leading into the 2023 ODI World Cup at home.
Pant: Dropped or rested?
The case of Rishabh Pant in white-ball cricket continues to spark curiosity. Pant is not present in both the ODI and T20I squad to take on Sri Lanka; he was rested after being named in the Bangladesh ODI squad. He played, and scored, in the Tests.
Pant’s place in India’s white-ball sides is untenable at the moment, although perhaps not so much in ODIs: he hit a century in Manchester only 3 innings ago - it’s not his fault that the emphasis has been so much on T20I in the past year.
After he was not picked for the Sri Lanka matches, fans thought that the left-hander has been dropped. However, it has been reported by ESPNcricinfo, that Pant has been told to go to the NCA and work on his fitness ahead of the important home Test series against Australia.
“Rishabh Pant has been sent to the NCA for strength and conditioning before the Test series against Australia. The team management feels he will have a key role to play in the Tests, and needs this housekeeping break after playing 44 internationals this year,” a report in ESPNcricinfo said.
At the moment, it can be considered that Pant is not dropped, at least from the ODI side.