TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
NOT so fast, India’s selectors said on Sunday. Instead, they chose a battery of medium pacers for next month’s T20 series that will start SA’s 72-day tour there.
The pacy Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav were all overlooked in favour of the slower, steadier Stuart Binny, Mohit Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
“We have picked this side looking at the wickets,” selection chair Sandeep Patil told reporters in Bangalore of matches that will be played in Dharamsala, Cuttack and at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens on October 2, 5 and 8.
“We have not lost faith in our (fast) bowlers – there is still a lot of time to go to World Twenty20.”
Left-arm medium pacer Sreenath Aravind, uncapped at 31, has also cracked the nod. Aravind was seventh in the averages and had the fifth-best strike rate after this year’s Indian Premier League. His haul of 4/27 for Royal Challengers Bangalore against King’s XI Punjab included the wickets of Glenn Maxwell, David Miller and George Bailey.
Allrounder Gurkeerat Singh, also uncapped, was named in the squad to play the first three of the five one-day internationals that will follow the T20s.
Singh, an off-spinner, scored at 65 and took 5/29 for India A in a List A game against Bangladesh A in Bangalore on September 16.
Patil and his committee will hope Singh is their answer to their No. 7 question.
“Gurkeerat was picked looking at his all-round capabilities,” Patil said. “The demands of the game are such that we need more allrounders.”
Mohammed Shami, one of three bowlers who took the third-highest number of wickets – 17 – at the 2015 World Cup, is recovering from a knee injury and was not considered.
MS Dhoni, who retired from test cricket during India’s tour to Australia last year and was succeeded as captain in that format by Virat Kohli, will lead the T20 and ODI teams against SA.
“We have not discussed anything regarding the ODI captaincy,” Patil said. “We are very happy the way Dhoni has led. We have total backing for Dhoni during this series.”
The ODIs will be played from October 11 to 25.
ODI: MS Dhoni (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Axar Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Mohit Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh, Amit Mishra.
T20: MS Dhoni (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Axar Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Mohit Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Sreenath Aravind, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra.