Midway into the T20 World Cup, chief selector Chetan Sharma announced India's squads for the upcoming tours of New Zealand and Bangladesh on Monday. In New Zealand, Hardik Pandya will lead in the T20Is while Shikhar Dhawan will be captain for the ODI leg with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul, along with a few others, rested for the tour. Pandya had led India for the Ireland T20Is in June as well.
Rohit will be back to lead a near full-strength side, minus the rested Pandya, for the Bangladesh ODIs and Tests subsequently, with Ravindra Jadeja also set to return there after knee surgery, subject to proving his fitness.
Ravichandran Ashwin hasn't found a place in any of the three white-ball squads, while Dinesh Karthik, the team's specialist finisher in the T20 World Cup, hasn't been picked for the New Zealand T20Is.
When asked if it meant the end of the road for 37-year-old Karthik, Chetan Sharma said, "It is not like that. We focus on workload management, and the way Dinesh Karthik has performed, he is always available for the selectors. We are just looking to try a different set of players immediately after the World Cup. Otherwise, doors are open for everybody."
The chief selector was then asked whether Karthik, who plays only one international format these days, had played enough to merit the need for workload management, and what his medical reports shared with the selectors had suggested in that regard. Chetan Sharma replied, "Internal matters (such as player medical reports) cannot be discussed on a public platform."
The chief selector informed that Jasprit Bumrah, who had been ruled out of the T20 World Cup due to a stress reaction of the back, would be back for the home series against Australia, which is scheduled in February 2023. Since the England tour in July, Bumrah has played only two T20Is against Australia in September. Chetan Sharma said that the selectors had tried to "hurry up" Bumrah's return with the T20 World Cup in mind, but were being extra cautious now.
Read Also: Most International Runs by Indian Openers
"We tried to hurry up Jasprit Bumrah, we tried to get him with the World Cup coming. And see what has happened? We are without Jasprit Bumrah in the World Cup," Chetan Sharma said.
"The NCA (National Cricket Academy, Bengaluru) team and the medical team are looking after him very well. And he will definitely be part and parcel of the team very soon, definitely against Australia. But for Bangladesh, we are a little cautious with Bumrah as opposed to like we tried to bring him back early (after the Asia Cup). So we don't want to do that this time."
Prithvi Shaw has again failed to find a spot in any of the squads. Shaw has scored 285 runs for Mumbai in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy at an average of 47.50 and a strike rate of 191.28. Chetan Sharma said that the young opener will get his opportunity "very soon."
"We are looking at Prithvi, we're constantly in touch with Prithvi, and he has been doing well. There's nothing wrong with him at all. The thing is, the players who are already playing and those who are performing, have got their chances. He will definitely get his chance."
Also Read: Fastest 100's in Men's T20 World Cup
Sarfaraz, the Mumbai middle-order batsman, was the standout lead run-getter in the previous Ranji Trophy, with 982 runs, including four hundred, at an average of 122.75. While he has been part of India 'A' sides, he may have to work "extra harder" for the national call-up, according to the chief selector.
"The selectors are giving him [Sarfaraz] a chance wherever there are opportunities," Chetan Sharma said. "He was part of the India 'A' squad recently. He is a brilliant player. He's not too far away. Sometimes you may have to work extra harder to come into the team, but otherwise, he's done his job. He's a serious contender, there were a lot of discussions (about him) and he will definitely get a chance very soon."
Hanuma Vihari, who played India's last Test match, against England in July, has been left out of the Test squad for Bangladesh. India plays only three middle-order batsmen nowadays, and Chetan Sharma said that the selectors were looking at Shubman Gill as a middle-order option too, which leaves no space for Vihari.
"Our middle order is packed and as per team combination, wickets, and conditions, we looked at players who will potentially play in the XI," Chetan Sharma said.
The packed middle order also means Ajinkya Rahane will have to score big runs in domestic cricket to push for a comeback, according to the chief selector.
Also, with Kuldeep Yadav chosen alongside Yuzvendra Chahal for the New Zealand T20Is, there was no place for Ravi Bishnoi, the reserve spinner for the T20 World Cup.
New Zealand T20Is:
New Zealand ODIs: