India is all set to host Bangladesh in a three-match Twenty20 International series with the first game set to be played at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in that national capital on Sunday (November 03). Amidst all the controversies that ranged from standoffs, suspensions and the hazardous air in the national capital, the cricketing context of this season has gone under the carpet. No one is talking about team combinations, probable playing elevens or how this series is primed to be a dress rehearsal for the main event, which is the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup scheduled in Australia next year.
With just 20-22 Twenty20 Internationals to go for the Men in Blue before the quadrennial event Down Under next year, every single match is crucial as far as zeroing on a team combination and preparation is concerned. With regular skipper Virat Kohli rested for the series, Rohit Sharma will lead the Men in Blue.
Team India has made a few interesting additions to the side that drew the T20I series against South Africa last month. Kerala and Rajasthan Royals tearaway wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson has earned a call-up to the national side after a hiatus of four years after the right-hander shellacked a whirlwind double-hundred in the recently concluded 50-over domestic competition Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Hardik Pandya goes down memory lane with MS Dhoni and Ziva
But the most significant selection was of Mumbai and Royal Challenger Bangalore’s seam-bowling all-rounder, Shivam Dube. Dube has been churning out performances in both List A and First-Class cricket for India A as well as his state team in the past 12 months and has been duly rewarded for the same. Dube’s inclusion comes at a time when the Indian cricket team is grappling with the absence of flamboyant all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
Pandya, who last featured in the Twenty20 International series against the Proteas has been suffering from his lower-back issues since last year’s Asia Cup. The injury resurfaced during the World Cup in England earlier this year and even though he made a return to the side for the series against South Africa last month, Pandya had to undergo a surgery which has put him out of the reckoning for a good 4-5 months.
The all-rounder has been very active on social media ever since he underwent the surgery. Pandya took to Instagram on Saturday where he shared a throwback photo of himself along with MS Dhoni and Ziva Dhoni. Pandya captioned the image as, “Miss the little one (and the big guy too)”
Meanwhile, Dhoni too has not been a part of the Indian set-up since the World Cup and there is still no clarity about the mercurial former Indian captain’s cricketing future.
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