NEW DELHI: Young batting sensations
earned maiden T20I call-ups as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday announced the 15-member squad for the 5-matche series in West Indies.
will continue to lead the team in the shortest format while Suryakumar Yadav will be his deputy.
, who has been included in the Test and the ODI squads, also features in the T20Is.
The T20I series will commence from August 3 in Trinidad.
Senior batters Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have not been picked once again, an indication that they have been phased out of the shortest format of the game.
The Hyderabad left-hander Tilak has been a notable member of the Mumbai Indians side for the past two seasons and with a strike-rate of 142-plus in 47 games, batting at No 5 has obviously attracted the national selection panel’s, led by Ajit Agarkar, attention.
While KKR left-hander Rinku Singh has missed out, it was more about not having a slot at the same position, considering there will be Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Sanju Samson also in the middle-order.
While the emphasis for the next three months is on the 50-over World Cup and people privy to development would term it as being rested, it is certainly not a pattern in isolation that two pillars of Indian batting (Rohit and Virat) have not been a part of the last three T20 series (Sri Lanka, New Zealand), including this one.
As the saying is in Indian cricket circles, the two contemporary doyens “would never be officially dropped” but “phased out” unless some remarkable turnround happens, which would be nothing short of a miracle.
The meeting on Wednesday was also Ajit Agarkar’s first as chairman of the national selection committee and there weren’t any names that would have surprised anyone.
Rinku Singh, whose finishing skills at Nos 5 or 6 for KKR in IPL have impressed one and all, didn’t figure in the 15-member squad but it is understood that with only a week’s gap between the West Indies series and Ireland T20Is, there is a high possibility that both Rinku and Vidarbha’s Jitesh Sharma will make that team along with Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Jitesh the glovesman lost out as both Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson are ahead in the pecking order and will always have an advantage unless they fail to perform.
The two players who have made international comebacks are pacer Avesh Khan and leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi.
Bishnoi, who last played for India in the Asia Cup in September, will be playing first-class cricket for Gujarat this season.
The team has three wrist spinners with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal also being part of the 15-member squad.
Axar Patel, who going by current form is a better T20 bet compared to Ravindra Jadeja, has been picked in the squad. In Jadeja’s case though, unlike Rohit and Kohli, he has been rested.
In the pace department, Avesh has been cranking it up with the red ball for Central Zone in the Duleep Trophy and in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj, the pace department will be handled by Avesh and Umran Malik along with left-arm seamers from Arshdeep Singh.
Bengal’s Mukesh Kumar is the back-up pacer.
India’s T20I squad:
Ishan Kishan (wk), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Surya Kumar Yadav (vc), Sanju Samson (wk), Hardik Pandya (c), Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar.
(With inputs from PTI)