Shikhar, Hardik, Bhuvneshwar back in India squad for South Africa ODIs

BCCI names its 15-man squad for three ODIs against South Africa; Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar return from injury.

Hardik Pandya's last international match was in September, 2019. - AP

India’s captain and head coach may have tried to downplay India’s One-Day International (ODI) series whitewash in New Zealand by stating that the 50-over format isn’t a priority in a Twenty20 World Cup year, but Sunil Joshi in his first meeting as the selection committee chief hinted that the panel is starting to build the team for the 2023 World Cup.

Hardik Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvenshwar Kumar – who have regained fitness after being out of the side due to various injuries – expectedly returned to the ODI fold, as reported by Sportstar on Saturday, for the three ODIs against South Africa.

But the first meeting of the rejigged committee panel, held in Ahmedabad on Sunday before the selectors headed to Rajkot to watch the Ranji Trophy final, preferred to include promising youngster Shubman Gill in place of middle-order batsman Kedar Jadhav, indicating that planning for the future has begun.

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The selectors had persisted with Jadhav, who will turn 35 later this month, after the ODI World Cup in 2019. It will be interesting to see if Gill, who featured in a couple of ODIs early last year in New Zealand, gets some game time during the forthcoming series.

Meanwhile, Pandya, Bhuvneshwar and Dhawan – all of whom excelled for Reliance 1 during the recently concluded DY Patil T20 tournament in Navi Mumbai – replaced Shivam Dube, Shardul Thakur and Mayank Agarwal from the squad picked for last month’s ODI series in New Zealand.

While Pandya has been in swashbuckling form with the willow, having scored two hundreds, including a 158-run blitzkrieg that included 20 sixes, and also picked a five-wicket haul, Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar also went through the paces to prove their match fitness.

Despite the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) not elaborating on the changes in the squad, it is understood that pacer Mohammed Shami has been rested as part of the workload management regime. After a heavy workout in New Zealand across formats, Shami has been rested not just from the ODI series, but has also been not released for the Ranji final.

India squad for SA ODIs

Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Virat Kohli (c), K. L. Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill.