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India vs South Africa: MS Dhoni Not Included in T20I Squad, Hardik Makes a Comeback

The BCCI announced Indian team for the upcoming T20I home series against South Africa. There will be no MS Dhoni in the Virat Kohli-led team. Another notable exclusion from the team is that of fast bowler Washington Sundar, while all-rounder Hardik Pandya makes a comeback.

Cricketnext Staff |August 29, 2019, 9:30 PM IST
India vs South Africa: MS Dhoni Not Included in T20I Squad, Hardik Makes a Comeback

Indian selectors ignored former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the three-match T20 series against South Africa beginning in Dharamshala on September 15. The selection committee which met on Thursday (August 29) evening, preferred to largely stick with the same winning squad which whitewashed West Indies 3-0 in a T20 series recently.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has regained his fitness, returned to the T20 mix with paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar left out from the squad which defeated West Indies.

“Retirement is purely individual (decision). A legendary cricketer like Dhoni, he knows when to retire. What is the future course of action, that is in the hands of the selection committee. I don’t think we need to discuss anything more on it. First of all he is not available. Second, we have already started grooming youngsters,” chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said at the media conference to announced the squad for the West Indies last month.

“Post World Cup, we have laid down a few more plans and we thought of giving as many opportunities as possible to Rishabh Pant and to see he is groomed. That is our plan right now and we did discuss this with him (Dhoni),” Prasad had said.

A 42-ball 65 in the final T20 against the West Indies has been Pant's only decent outing in the Caribbean so far. But the selectors as well as the team management including captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri are prepared to give the Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman a long rope.

Shreyas Iyer, who was one of India's star performer in the ODI series against West Indies along with skipper Kohli, continues to find a place in the T20 mix as well with the selectors looking to find the perfect middle-order combination from the likes of Iyer, Manish Pandey and KL Rahul.

Pandya, who was rested for the Caribbean tour, after a long season is back to face the South Africans but the selectors opted to give rest to their premier fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah to keep him fresh for rest of the season. Bumrah also missed the limited-overs leg of the West Indies series but made a sensational comeback picking up 5/7 in the second innings of the first Test against West Indies in Antigua.

The notable omission from the West Indies tour was paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who bowled very impressively against the Windies in the T20s and ODIs.

In the three T20s, Bhuvneshwar picked up three scalps at an average of 15 and in the three ODIs he picked up four wickets at an average of 22.5. The selectors showed faith in young Delhi tearaway Navdeep Saini, who made a very impressive T20 debut against the West Indies.

Krunal Pandya, who was adjudged the man-of-the-series in the T20 games against West Indies, will look to build on that success against the South Africans. The three-match T20 series will begin in Dharamshala on September 15 with the second one in Mohali on September 18 and third and final game in Bengaluru on September 22.

India’s squad for 3 T20Is: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini

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