Mahendra Singh Dhoni will lead a squad that is a mix of youth and experience for the first three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against New Zealand. A few senior players, who were refreshed for the Zimbabwe visit in June this year, come back to the ODI squad. A portion of the players who performed well in the Quadrangular A-Team series in Australia as of late have likewise been named in the group selected by the newly-formed panel, headed by previous India wicketkeeper-batsman MSK Prasad, in its maiden selection assignment on Thursday.
While seniors Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Amit Mishra, who were refreshed for the Zimbabwe series in June, come back to the ODI set-up, the injured Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were not picked, nor was Ishant Sharma, who is recovering from Chikungunya. The selectors additionally refreshed R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, while Mohammed Shami too has been offered a break.
Justifying the inclusion of Raina, the All India Senior Selection panel chairman Prasad said: “We had given a break to Suresh Raina in the Zimbabwe series and he has comeback as he did well in the Duleep Trophy, got runs there. We needed a middle order batsman who can also bowl. This is a relatively young team with Jadeja, Ashwin and Shami rested. So we needed somebody who can bat and contribute with the ball.”
“Mayank Agarwal is a good cricketer and is definitely a part of the scheme. The reason we had to bring in Raina is because of his bowling, apart from the experience he brings with his batting,” Prasad added.
Hardik Pandya was picked over Stuart Binny for the pace-bowling all-rounder’s position , yet it stays to be checked whether he makes it into the XI considering his diminishing stocks that has taken after his promising Twenty20 International (T20I) debut in Australia. The 22-year-old, who had a forgettable outing in the World T20 rivalry prior this year, is yet to highlight in an ODI.
Speaking about Pandya’s selection, Prasad said he is a talented all rounder who is worth investing. “We have very few talented all-rounders like Hardik Pandya and that is the reason we fielded him in Australia. He bowled exceptionally well in all the formats we played and whenever the team required, Dhawal (Kulkarni) and Hardik Pandya rose to the occasion. (We are) convinced that Pandya is an all-rounder who we can look forward to.”
Manish Pandey, who has shown good form in limited-overs cricket, clutches his spot. The likes of Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav and Dhawal Kulkarni likewise earned themselves space in the ODI squad taking after great exhibitions in the four-team series in Australia.
In the pace department, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Dhawal Kulkarni are the alternatives accessible for Dhoni. Bumrah, whose exact yorkers have served the group well as far back as his international debut in January this year, has shown steady growth as a limited-overs cricketer.
The five-match India Vs New Zealand ODI series begins on October 16 in Dharamsala, four days after the conclusion of the third and final Test in Indore.