29 August, 2019
Hardik Pandya has been named in a 15-man squad for the 3-match home T20I series against South Africa. The 25-year-old all-rounder, who last played at the 2019 World Cup, was rested from the ongoing tour of West Indies after picking up a minor niggle during the latter stages of the marquee 50-over tournament in England.
1st choice fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested as India continue their hunt for backup fast bowling options for their T20 side ahead of next year's World Cup in Australia. MS Dhoni, who took a 2-month sabbatical at the end of the World Cup, continues to miss out furthering the uncertainty around his future in international cricket.
Notwithstanding a very inexperienced pace attack - Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini and Deepak Chahar have cumulatively played 16 T20Is - the return of Hardik will bolster an already strong looking batting order while bringing in the added dimension of his fast bowling.
By opting to not reinstate the wrist spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, the MSK Prasad-led selection panel has also thrown its weight behind Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar and Rahul Chahar - three of who can also chip in with the bat - as India continue exploring different combinations ahead of next year's T20 World Cup in Australia.
The three-match T20I series against South Africa begins on September 15 in Dharamsala with subsequent games in Mohali (September 18) and Bengaluru (September 22). This will be followed by a three-Test series beginning on October 2