Youngsters Rishabh Pant and Kuldeep Yadav have been selected for India’s limited-overs tour to the West Indies, which commences right after the ongoing Champions Trophy. Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested for the tour that will have five ODIs and a T20 international. The first ODI at Port of Spain is scheduled on June 23.
Pant, a 19-year-old keeper-batsman, is known for his swashbuckling batting style. He made his T20 international debut, against England in Bangalore in February, and was among the Champions Trophy stand-bys. The left-hander had an impressive IPL for Delhi Daredevils this term, where he finished with a strike-rate on 165.61 in 14 matches. Selection committee chairman MSK Prasad described him as a player for the future ahead of the Champions Trophy.
Yadav, the 22-year-old chinaman bowler from Uttar Pradesh, made his Test debut against Australia at Dharamsala in March and ran through the Aussie middle-order in the first innings, returning with four wickets. He has had been pretty consistent with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL and was rewarded for his skill and talent.
The decision to rest Rohit and Bumrah, however, appears a little surprising. However, captain Virat Kohli put things into perspective when he said, “ Rohit has come back and had a full IPL season, which was very hectic. His side reached the final and he hardly got any rest. Plus, he had a massive hip surgery and the muscles around that area are always vulnerable and today also he experienced stiffness in his right knee. So, we have taken a decision to rest him. Going forward, we need to protect him as we have big tours coming up towards the latter half of the year.”
The Champions Trophy is Rohit’s first international assignment following a six-month injury layoff. The opener straightaway hit the ground running. Bumrah, the team’s death-overs specialist, only gets picked for limited-overs cricket as far as international fixtures are concerned. He featured in three ODIs and three T20 internationals this year before the ICC event.
The BCCI said: “The administrative staff of the Indian Cricket Team will continue for the tour of West Indies.” This includes the team manager, logistic manager etc. and not the coaching staff. Anil Kumble’s contract as the head coach of the Indian team expires after the Champions Trophy. But subject to his consent he will continue for the Caribbean tour, as the Cricket Advisory Committee is unlikely to complete the coach selection process in the next seven-eight days.
Team: Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, M Shami, U Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav and Dinesh Karthik.