The transition phase in Indian cricket kick-started on December 27, 2022 with premier all-rounder Hardik Pandya being named captain of the T20 side for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka starting January 3.
The 27-year-old Baroda man has also been named as the vice-captain of the ODI squad, indicating current regime’s plans to see him as long-term white ball leader once 35-year-old Rohit Sharma decides to call time on his illustrious international career.
While Rohit, recuperating from a finger injury was named captain of the ODI series which is to follow the T20Is, it is understandable that the shortest format will now feature fresh faces and primarily IPL performers.
Even Virat Kohli and KL Rahul are also not part of the T20I format and there is an indication that the duo along with Rohit might not be picked again keeping the 2024 T20 World Cup in mind.
The troika will probably be asked to concentrate on 50-over format with a World Cup set to be played in India next year.
“Yes, there will be no official announcement that Rohit has been removed from T20I captaincy but he along with Kohli and Rahul will be phased out from the format. Obviously, Rohit’s dislocated thumb injury hasn’t completely healed although he has started training. But phasing out has indeed started,” a senior BCCI source privy to development told PTI on condition of anonymity.
Suryakumar Yadav, for his mindblowing one year, is now the new vice-captain in T20Is.
Pandya, who led Gujarat Titans to IPL triumph during the last edition was touted as Rohit’s replacement after India lost to England in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup playing archaic cricket.
While Rohit is still recovering from thumb dislocation, the BCCI press release doesn’t state if it is a permanent change or just for one series.
The T20I team has a fresh look with two uncapped pacers Shivam Mavi and Mukesh Kumar being inducted into the shortest format.
Mavi was picked by Titans for ₹6 crore, while Bengal’s Mukesh was snapped by Delhi Capitals for ₹5.50 crore.
Ruturaj Gaikwad and Rahul Tripathi, two powerhouse IPL performers, made it to the T20 side.
The ODI side boasts of a more experienced look with Mohammed Shami coming back from shoulder injury.
Rishabh Pant heads for NCA
Rishabh Pant is not a part of both the white-ball squads and it is understood that he has been asked to report at the NCA for a knee strengthening rehabilitation programme for two weeks. Hence, he will miss the entire Sri Lanka series.
But BCCI’s statement doesn’t mention whether he has been rested or dropped.
End of road for Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan, one of India’s contemporary white ball greats, has perhaps played his last match for the country after a prolonged bad patch which finds him ousted from the national ODI set-up.
Ironically, even one series before Bangladesh, he was leading the side in New Zealand but his dismal drop in scoring rate and also not being able to string a series of consistent scores have gone against him.
Rohit being a white-ball giant and Shubman Gill in prime ODI form with Ishan Kishan hitting fastest double hundred less than a month back, India have multiple options and can look beyond Dhawan.
As reported by PTI on December 11, Dhawan has now been predictably dropped and possibly it is the end of the road for one India’s star performers at the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy and 2015 World Cup, where he was the highest scorer.
India's squad for Sri Lanka T20Is:
Hardik Pandya (Captain), 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.
Rohit Sharma (Captain), 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, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh.