@Aadya_Wisden 4 minute read
The BCCI has announced India’s squad for their first two Tests of 2023, as well as the limited-overs units that will host New Zealand at home. As expected, there were plenty of talking points.
Before India welcomes the IPL season, they will play an ODI and T20I series against New Zealand, ahead of hosting Australia for the highly-anticipated Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Here are their squads for all three of the series:
India’s ODI squad v New Zealand: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (wk), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KS Bharat (wk), Hardik Pandya (vc), Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umran Malik.
India’s T20I squad v New Zealand: Hardik Pandya (c), Suryakumar Yadav (vc), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, Prithvi Shaw, Mukesh Kumar.
KL Rahul & Axar Patel are unavailable due to family commitments.
India’s squad for first two Australia Tests: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Suryakumar Yadav.
Ravindra Jadeja’s inclusion is subject to fitness.
Major takeaways from the squad announcement:
The Shawstopper is back
Finally. Two days after he smashed a 383-ball 379 in the Ranji Trophy, Shaw makes a return to the India team, albeit in T20I kit (he played a lone T20I in 2021). He’s been at the centre of several discussions and debates – some couldn’t believe that he was kept out of the team, while others used the abstract term “temperament” to justify his non-selection. Plain facts: since the start of 2020, Shaw’s strike-rate in T20s is 153.49. In powerplays, that number goes up to 159.66. He has had to work on his game in the past, but the latest call-up could well be the start of his redemption.
Surya-Kishan in whites – yay or nay?
Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, two white-ball demolishers uncapped in the Test format, have found a place in the squad for the first two Border-Gavaskar Trophy matches. Surya – currently the No.1 batter in T20Is – was called up for the England tour in 2021, but did not play a game. Kishan, who hit an ODI double-century just last month, gets in as backup wicketkeeper, with India still coming to terms with Rishabh Pant’s absence. The thinking behind their selection could be to have a Pant-like reinforcer in the middle order who can emulate his tempo, and help India score rapidly if the situation demands. The keeping gloves could still go to KS Bharat, though.
Bumrah still not back, Jadeja almost
Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja both spent a considerable part of 2022 on the treatment table, recovering from back and knee injuries respectively. It’s given India a chance to test their depth, but it also complicates the combination when either of them return. Bumrah was initially named in the squad for the Sri Lanka ODIs this month, before being withdrawn (he hasn’t played for India since September). In a World Cup year, the prolonged layoff could jeopardise India’s ODI plans leading up to the tournament.
Jadeja, another key fixture who hasn’t donned the India cap since August, finally makes a return to the Test squad and will be a vital addition against the touring Australia outfit. However, his selection is still subject to fitness, and he hasn’t been named in either of the white-ball squads, indicating that a return to the ODI team ahead of the World Cup might not be straightforward either.
No Kohli, Rohit in T20Is – is it the end?
Both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli haven’t played T20Is since the World Cup semi-final drubbing at the hands of England. Last week, media reports suggested that the team had decided to look past the duo in the T20I format, with Hardik Pandya more-or-less settling into the role of a leader. It could well be the case: both are in their mid-thirties and wouldn’t mind easing their all-format workload. With the next T20 World Cup still a year and a half away, it could also be a good time to build a team for the future. Rohit, though, made it clear that he isn’t retiring yet. Could they still make a return? If they do, it would be a step in the opposite direction from the one which has been indicated post T20 World Cup.
The Sarfaraz debate
Probably the most debated non-selection is that of Sarfaraz Khan, who’s stacked up astronomical first-class numbers over the course of the last two domestic seasons. In first-class history [min. 50 innings], Sarfaraz’s average of 80.47 is only bettered by Don Bradman [95.14]. Many felt the Bangladesh Tests late last year were the perfect time to blood him, while some others had hope that he will find a spot for the Australia home Tests. However, the selectors decided to pick Kishan and Suryakumar instead. Given the record he has, Sarfaraz should definitely feel hard done by. He’s still just 25. The grind continues.