The BCCI has announced India’s 15-man squad for the upcoming three-match home ODI series against South Africa beginning on March 12th at Dharamsala. While Rohit Sharma who is recovering from a calf injury remains to be the major absentee, the management has dropped Mayank Agarwal, Shivam Dube, Kedar Jadhav and Shardul Thakur who were a part of the squad against New Zealand.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya who last played for India in September last year during the home T20I series against South Africa has made his much-awaited return. Also making their comebacks to the national colours are Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan who returned to action in the recently concluded 2020 DY Patil T20 tournament where they played alongside Hardik Pandya.
With Rohit Sharma recovering from injury and Mayank Agarwal being dropped, young Shubman Gill has been included as a back-up for the top-order. Meanwhile, speedster Navdeep Saini who played two ODIs against New Zealand has retained his spot in the absence of Mohammed Shami. Though the squad looks balanced and formidable, several talented players have been left out.
On that note, let us look at three Indian players who have missed out from India’s 15-man squad for the ODI series against South Africa.
1) Suryakumar Yadav
Despite being a consistent performer across formats in the domestic tournaments for several years, Suryakaumar hasn’t earned his much-deserved Team India call-up yet. Though it was expected that the Indian team management would provide him with a chance to prove himself instead of Kedar Jadhav in the three-match ODIs against New Zealand last month, unfortunately, it wasn’t the case.
The Mumbaikar who represented India A in the two one-day warm-up matches (against New Zealand XI) as well as the three unofficial ODIs against New Zealand A, could have been included for the upcoming ODI series against the Proteas given his batting credentials and with the series to be played at home it would have been perfect for the 29-year-old to make his International debut.
Though Dube and Jadhav have been dropped, Hardik Pandya’s comeback has made it difficult for Suryakumar to make the cut. Now that the Mumbai Indians star is once again overlooked, it remains to be seen whether a good outing with the willow in 2020 IPL would help the experienced campaigner secure a spot in India’s 2020 T20 World Cup squad!
2) Deepak Chahar
Chahar who was last seen in action during India’s three-match ODI series against West Indies at home in December last year was ruled out of the final fixture of that series due to lower back injury and was replaced by Navdeep Saini. While Saini has retained his spot for the upcoming ODIs against South Africa, Chahar is yet to make his comeback.
Saini has been a regular fixture in the Indian limited-overs set up since the start of the year, having featured in the T20Is against Sri Lanka, ODIs against Australia apart from being a part of the T20I, ODI as well as the Test squads against New Zealand. The 27-year-old Delhi pacer has been exceptional in the limited-overs opportunities he has got so far.
Given the conditions in New Zealand, a fully-fit Deepak Chahar would have been a valuable addition given his ability to swing the ball irrespective of the format. A bright prospect for the 2020 T20 World Cup, the Chennai Super Kings pacer deserved a spot in the ODI squad against Quinton de Kock’s men before joining the Men in Yellow for 2020 IPL.
3) Sanju Samson
Despite being omitted from India’s T20I squad for the five-match series against New Zealand, Samson was later included as a replacement to the injured Shikhar Dhawan who was ruled out of the entire tour. After warming the bench in the first three matches, the wicketkeeper-batsman managed just ten runs upon making the XI in the remaining two fixtures.
The 25-year-old did not make the cut for the ODIs against Blackcaps despite Dhawan and Rohit’s absence as the management preferred Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw for the 50-over format. The Rajasthan Royals player has been consistent in the IPL for the past several seasons apart from scoring heavily for Kerala in the domestic tournaments.
Samson who holds the record for the highest List A score in Indian domestic cricket and the highest List A score by a wicketkeeper in the world having amassed 212* off just 129 balls in 2019-20 Vijay Hazare Trophy has the temperament to succeed at the biggest stage. Hope he gets his much-deserved chances going forward to prove his credentials!
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