Left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra is all set to make a comeback into India T20 squad for the three-match series against Australia which begins on October 7. Senior spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been dropped once again along with Test specialist bowlers Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami.
Among the batsmen, Shikhar Dhawan, who had missed out on the ODI series due to wife’s illness, is back in the squad along with seasoned wicket keeper Dinesh Karthik. Rahane has been dropped as his game does not suit the T20 format, meaning Sharma is likely to open the innings with Dhawan.
38-year-old Nehra’s presence in the squad has surprised many. He had made last appearance in a T20 game in February last year against England. “Ashish Nehra played the last full T20 series against England earlier this year. He was in contention to play Champions Trophy but an injury during IPL put paid to his hopes. India’s last two T20s were one off games against West Indies and Sri Lanka, so Ashish wasn’t picked,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The official added that Ashish has never been dropped due to poor form, but fitness issues which have plagued him for long.
“Ashish if fit was due for a comeback as and when there would have been a three match T20 series. There isn’t anyone craftier than Ashish and when it comes to his selection, it’s about fitness and not form. Check records, Ashish has never been dropped because of poor form,” the official added.
India beat Australia by seven wickets in fifth ODI on Sunday to clinch the series 4-1 and will be starting as favourite when they take on Aussies on JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi in the first match of the series.
Squad: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni(wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Axar Patel.