Kohli, Dhoni rested; Shankar, Pant named in India squad for tri-series in SL

Keeping in mind the excessive workload and upcoming schedule, the national selection committee led by MSK Prasad, decided to rest captain Virat Kohli and senior most member of the team, MS Dhoni from the upcoming Nidhahas Trophy in Sri Lanka. Vice-captain Rohit Sharma will lead the side, announced BCCI on Sunday.

Virat Kohli did not feature in the series-deciding final T20I, which India won by 7 runs against South Africa with complains of a stiff back. With the IPL and tours of England and Australia lined up, the selection committee has decided to rest the Indian captain from the T20I tri-series featuring Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“We’ve kept in mind the workload and upcoming schedule while finalizing the team for Nidahas Trophy. The high-performance team has suggested that adequate rest should be given to our fast bowlers to help improve athletic performance, maximize rest and prevent injury,” said MSK Prasad, chairman of selecton committee.

In another notable decision, former India captain MS Dhoni was not named in the fifteen-member squad travelling to Sri Lanka after the wicket-keeper batsman asked for break from constant cricket. This is the first time when Dhoni will not feature in an entire tournament after stepping down as limited overs skipper last year.

"MS Dhoni was not available for selection as he had requested for rest,” Prasad informed.

The battle for the gloves will be between Dinesh Karthik, who featured in the last T20I in South Africa as a batsman and Rishabh Pant. Pant played some blistering knocks for Delhi in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali domestic T20 tournament including a 32-ball hundred – the fastest in first-class cricket.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was the only player to feature in all the matches in South Africa has been given a break. Tamil Nadu captain, Vijay Shnakar has earned his maiden T20 call-up. The 15-member squad is not short of all-rounders with the likes of Washington Sundar and Deepak Hooda getting rewarded for their consistent performance.

In the bowling department too there are quite a few changes with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah being rested after a hectic South Africa tour. Kerala fast bowler Basil Thampi has been named in the squad along with Mohammad Siraj and Jaydev Unadkat. 

There are no changes in the spin department.

However, Karnataka opener Mayank Agarwal could not make into the 15-men squad as team already had three openers including Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul. Mayank Agarwal had a phenomenal domestic season. The right-hander was the highest run-getter in the Ranji season scoring 1160 runs at a mind-boggling average of 105.45 with five centuries. In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Mayank managed three half-centuries to finish with 258 runs in nine innings at a strike rate of 144.94.

The tri-series begins from March 6.

TEAM: Rohit Sharma (Capt), Shikhar Dhawan (vc), KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Siraj, Rishabh Pant (wk).

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