The Indian selectors have named the Twenty20 and Test squad for the tour of Australia, which begins with a three-match T20I series and is followed by a four-Test series starting December 6 in Adelaide.
MS Dhoni was not named in India’s T20 squad for the three home T20Is against the West Indies and he doesn’t find a place in the 16-man squad for the three-T20I series against Australia also. Rishabh Pant will once again be the wicketkeeper for the T20I series against Australia. Regarding Dhoni’s exclusion, the chairman of selectors, MSK Prasad said, “Dhoni’s not going to play the six T20Is because we’re looking at the second keeper slot. It is not the end of Dhoni in T20Is. That will be between Rishabh and Dinesh Karthik. So they will be getting a chance to keep and bat.”
Virat Kohli returns to captain the team, having been rested for the home T20I series against the two-time World T20 champion, with Rohit Sharma deputising him. Hardik Pandya is another big name missing from the squad, having missed the entirety of West Indies tour of India 2018 with a back injury which he picked up at the Asia Cup in the UAE.
Jharkhand left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, who was part of the India squad for the Windies T20Is has been left out, while Washington Sundar, Krunal Pandya, Umesh Yadav, and Khaleel Ahmed retain their places. Nadeem is replaced by Kuldeep Yadav in India’s T20 squad for the series against Australia, beginning November 21 in Brisbane. The batting unit remains largely the same, with Kohli’s return only bolstering it further.
Full India T20 squad for the tour of Australia 2018
Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Washington Sundar, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, and Khaleel Ahmed
Murali Vijay had been dropped from the Indian squad for the Test series against the West Indies, with Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal named replacements for Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, who failed with the bat in the Test series against England.
Vijay, though, has returned the Test squad after amassing a tally of 323 runs in five innings for Essex immediately after being axed from the national team. He has replaced Mayank in the squad, the Karnataka batsman left out despite his not getting a chance in any of the two Tests against the Windies. “M Vijay had been dropped from England, but he went back to Counties and performed and showed his intent,” Prasad said about the Tamil Nadu opener’s return to the national Test team.
Dinesh Karthik had been one of the two wicketkeepers in the squad for the England tour, during which he lost his place to Rishabh Pant after the second Test at Lord’s. Pant played the final three Tests and also made a century in the final Test at The Oval. Pant further harnessed his opportunity with back-to-back 92s against the Windies and has seemingly sealed his place in the Indian Test squad for the foreseeable future. Karthik, though, has lost his place, even as the second wicketkeeper in the squad, to Parthiv Patel, who returns after last being part of the team for the South Africa tour at the start of the year.
Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who were rested for the home Test series against the West Indies, have returned to the squad for the four-Test series against Australia. Bhuvneshwar missed the entirety of the five-Test series against England because of a back injury. Bumrah played the final three Tests against England after missing the first two with a left thumb injury.
Another major inclusion in the squad is Rohit Sharma, who was left out of the squads for the one-off Test against Afghanistan and the Test series against England and the West Indies. The selection of Rohit raises question marks given that he hasn’t played any First-Class or County cricket since being dropped from the squad. Prasad reasoned that Rohit’s style of play is suited for the bouncy pitches in Australia. “We felt that Rohit’s nature of play, a very good back-foot player, is suited for Australia,” Prasad said.
The selectors have also retained the three spinners in the squad, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav keeping their places from the West Indies Test series. Hardik Pandya, though, doesn’t find a place in the Test squad against Australia also, with the Prasad saying that the Baroda all-rounder hasn’t recovered completely from the back injury he suffered in the Asia Cup. “As of now, he won’t be ready till November 15. After that, we will take a call.”
Shardul Thakur and Mohammad Siraj don’t figure in the squad for the Australia Test series.
Full India squad for Test series against Australia 2018-19
Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Parthiv Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Umesh Yadav