India had a dream-run in the ICC World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand, where they won seven out  of their 10 eight games, losing only in the semi-final against the eventual winners Australia. The hallmark of their campaign was their bowlers claiming all 70 wickets in their first seven games. However, the team has struggled in the limited-overs since the campaign Down Under. A full-fledged side that toured to Bangladesh were beaten comprehensively; their first series loss against the neighbours. A second-string side lead by Ajinkya Rahane did beat Zimbabwe at their home, but again a full-strength team was beaten by South Africa in their own backyard.

With India not doing well in the limited-overs and the ICC World T20 2016 just a couple of months away, it was supposed to be a crucial selection meeting when the five wise men lead by Sandeep Patil were to meet to announce India’s One-Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) squad for the Australia tour next month in Delhi on Saturday. And the meeting that featured Gagan Khoda and MSK Prasad as selectors for the first time proved out to be a winner as the panel has taken some bold decisions. On one hand, they have infused young blood by picking uncapped Barinder Sran, Hardik Pandya and Rishi Dhawan. And on the other hand, they have gone back to the past to pick the old-guard Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra, showing they are willing to bet on horses for courses in the shortest format.

The certainties

There was no question over the selection of few players. Skipper MS Dhoni, Vice-captain Virat Kohli, openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane, ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, pacers Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were the definite starters in the squads. Bhuvneshwar does find a place though, but only in the T20Is. The fit-again Mohammed Shami was also expected to make a comeback in both the squads to bolster the fast bowling department while Ishant Sharma was also expected to make a return to the ODI squad. Gurkeerat Singh, who had been with the team during the series against South Africa, was also expected to keep his place in the team despite not getting any game.

The 25-year old Punjab all-rounder has had a good run in the Ranji as well as Vijay Hazare Trophy and with his finishing skills, he is being considered as a prospective finisher for India in the limited-overs. With India’s original finisher — Suresh Raina — struggling of late, Gurkeerat’s presence brings stability lower down the order. Raina had a torrid time with the willow against South Africa, when he aggregated a mere 68 runs in five innings. Despite the failures, he was expected to retain his place. The selectors though have made a strong statement by dropping him from the ODIs.

The remaining slots

Ravindra Jadeja has made a stunning comeback to the squads on the back of his tremendous performance against South Africa during the recently concluded Test series. Manish Pandey makes a comeback to the ODI side in place of Ambati Rayudu, who has been dropped from both the squads. All-rounder Stuart Binny, whose father Roger Binny was recently ousted from the selection panel, has also been dropped from both the squads. Axar Patel, Himachal Pradesh all-rounder Rishi Dhawan and Punjab pacer Barinder Sran fill up the remaining slots in the ODIs.

In T20Is, Harbhajan Singh, young Baroda and Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya, veteran Yuvraj and Nehra fill up the remaining spots.

The Pleasant Surprises

Yuvraj and Nehra’s comeback is a pleasing one. Yuvraj has been doing well of late and averages over 85 with a strike-rate around 104 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy that is currently underway. He was the hero of India’s twin-world cup wins in 2007 and 2011. Nehra, who apparently had given away hopes of playing for India again, has been handed a surprise call-up. His great run with the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captained by Dhoni in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has prompted his return to the team after over four years. The inclusion of Sran, Rishi Dhawan and Pandya are also refreshing changes.

Squads:

odi squad

 

t20 squad


(A self-confessed cricket freak, Chinmay Jawalekar is a senior writer with CricLife and CricketCountry. When not writing or following cricket, he loves to read, eat and sleep. He can be followed here @CricfreakTweets)