Ravichandran Ashwin, K.L. Rahul and Kuldeep Yadav have been recalled while Jasprit Bumrah, Virat Kohli and Yuzvendra Chahal have been rested for India’s five-match T20I series versus the West Indies, to be played in July-August.
Ashwin, the offspinner, last featured in a T20I last November and is likely to be tried out in the Powerplays with an eye on the T20 World Cup, to be played in Australia from October. Rahul and Kuldeep will have to clear a fitness test, having recovered from injuries and ailments over the last couple of months, before being made available for the series.
Captain Rohit Sharma, wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant and key pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar - who have been rested for the three ODI in the West Indies starting July 22 - will return to the side for the T20Is. However, the selectors in consultation with the team management have opted to rest Kohli, Bumrah and Chahal for the T20Is.
While the BCCI communication on Thursday had no explanation for the trio’s omission, The Hindu understands that the decision to rest them is with an eye on trying out various combinations in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup.
Bumrah and Chahal are assured of a place in the T20 World Cup side being the premiere pacer and spinner, respectively, while the selectors are confident that Kohli will regain his lost touch during the break.
Considering the lack of experience in Australia among India’s T20 specialist batters, the selectors and the team management are willing to give Kohli a longer rope to get back into the run-scoring mode. As a result, it will be surprising if Kohli is not recalled into the side for the Asia Cup, scheduled to start in Sri Lanka towards the end August.
However, if Rahul passes the fitness test and scores heavily against T20 powerhouse West Indies, the selectors may be in a quandary over Kohli’s fate for the T20 World Cup.
Similarly, if Kuldeep, having recovered from a finger injury, returns to his wicket-taking spree that was on display during the Indian Premier League, India’s spin combination for the T20 World Cup will also be an interesting topic.
Pace-bowling allrounder Deepak Chahar was not considered for selection since he is yet to recover from hamstring and back injuries he suffered ahead of IPL.
Rohit Sharma (captain), Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul* (subject to fitness), Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav* (subject to fitness), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh.
The itinerary: July 29 (Trinidad), August 1 (St. Kitts), August 2 (St. Kitts), August 6 (Lauderhill, Florida), August 7 (Lauderhill, Florida).