India to play near full-strength squad in five T20Is against West Indies; Kohli might be rested: Report

by IANS |

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) Regular skipper Rohit Sharma, pacer Jasprit Bumrah, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and all-rounder Hardik Pandya are likely to return to Indias near full-strength T20I squad for the five-match series against the West Indies. At the same time, senior batter Virat Kohli might be rested from the T20I series in the Caribbean, says a report by Cricbuzz on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Sharma, Bumrah, Pant, Pandya and Kohli were rested from India's three-match ODI series against the West Indies, to be played in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on July 22, 24 and 27. After this, India and West Indies will play five T20Is, starting from July 29 in Trinidad, followed by the next two matches at St. Kitts and the final two T20Is to be played in Lauderhill, Florida, USA.

"The India Twenty20 squad for the upcoming matches in the Caribbean will be in full force as all the senior players of the white-ball team with the possible exception of Virat Kohli, are expected to feature in the five-game series. Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya will be included in the squad expected to be announced after the third and final T20I against England on July 10," said the report.

Talking about the possibility of Kohli's absence from the five-match T20I series, the report said, "The absence of Kohli cannot be construed as not being in the scheme of things as he is very much part of the decision makers' plans for the World Cup. He is believed to have requested the selectors, team management and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to not consider him for the West Indies series. It will be a case of rest rather than an axe."

The report went on to say that ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin might get a surprise recall for the T20I series against the West Indies. Ashwin made a comeback into the shortest format of the game during the Men's T20 World Cup last year and last played a T20I against New Zealand at Ranchi in November last year.

"The management and the selectors also want to test Ashwin, who was recalled for last year's T20 World Cup in the UAE but has not had many chances since for a variety of reasons, including fitness. However, after Dravid and Rohit took over the reins of the team last November, Ashwin was told that his experience and expertise feature in their planning. It will be a surprise if he doesn't get a recall soon enough, if not straightaway for the West Indies series."

The West Indies series will be the second time India will play a bilateral T20I series of five matches this year, after drawing 2-2 against South Africa in June at home. It gives the Indian team management a further chance to zero on the personnel who will make it to the final squad for Men's T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November.

"Team management under coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Rohit wants to try out all possible combinations before finalising the line-up for the World Cup in October-November in Australia, and the selection committee under Chetan Sharma is believed to be on the same page. Both groups will identify players -- whom they want to pick or to leave out for the World Cup -- only after giving sufficient opportunities," concluded the report

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