The Indian squad for this month’s T20 series against Ireland has been announced. For the first time, star all-rounder Hardik Pandya is leading India. Fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar has also been appointed as the vice-captain. The team was also noted for the returns of Sanju Samson and Suryakumar Yadav. Rahul Tripathi is the only newcomer on the team.
Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer have been ruled out of the England tour. Most of the team currently playing in the T20 series against South Africa also retained their place in the Ireland tour. But there have been some dismissals who certainly deserved a spot on the team. Let us see who they are.
1. Shikhar Dhawan
Experienced opener Shikhar Dhawan has again been left out of India’s T20 squad. He was also not included against South Africa. With this, the selection committee has indicated Dhawan will not return to the Indian T20 team. Instead, the selection committee was hoping for youngsters like Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad. They will also open against South Africa.
Despite his stellar performance in the last three IPL seasons, it is disappointing that Dhawan has not been considered for the T20 squad. He scored 460 runs in 14 matches for the Punjab Kings last season. The star was there to improve the strike rate. However, the selectors were reluctant to recall Dhawan. Dhawan led India in the absence of senior players in last year’s White Ball series on the tour of Sri Lanka.
2. Rahul Tewatia
All-rounder Rahul Tewatia was instrumental in the Gujarat Titans’ maiden title win in the last IPL. He was a crucial player in GT’s success in many matches with his explosive finish. Tewatia’s team was more in the batter’s role than the bowler’s. There were hints that the player might get a chance in the ongoing T20 series against South Africa. He scored 217 for the Titans in 16 innings last season with a strike rate of 147.61. But this performance did not help Tewatia to reach the national team.
3. T Natarajan
Left-arm fast bowler T Natarajan holds the record for the most consecutive series in all three formats against the Indian team. The player lost his place in the national team due to an occasional injury. His ability to bowl yorkers consistently in death overs sets Natarajan apart.
The pacer made a spectacular comeback to cricket with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the last IPL. Natarajan took 18 wickets in 11 matches. Meanwhile, he missed the last few matches due to another injury. However, I thought BCCI might recall Natarajan in the series against Ireland.