Key players rested for Zim tour; Rahane to lead

SansadTV Bureau

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Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane will lead 15-men Indian team in the Zimbabwe series starting next month. The decision to hand over captaincy to 27-years old Rahane was taken by the selectors in the wake of BCCI’s decision to give rest to most of the senior players including Indian skipper MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and R Ashwin.

Opener Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were among the senior players picked in the squad announced by Anurag Thakur, BCCI Secretary, after the selection committee meeting held in New Delhi.

Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh also staged a comeback to the ODI squad after a gap of four years. All-rounder Robin Uthappa also made a return to the ODI side, while paceman Sandeep Sharma and leg-spinner Karn Sharma were included in the team to be captained by Ajinkya Rahane.

Manoj Tiwary, who had been struggling with injuries for a couple of time, has also been recalled into the side largely benefitting from the absence of the senior players.

“The Indian team did not do well in Bangladesh, we felt the same. (But) we have to move forward and considering the domestic cricket to be played, we have picked this side, looking at the 2016 T20 World Cup,” Sandeep Patil ,Chairman of selectors committee told the Press.

“We had picked the best possible team that played at the World Cup and keeping the future series in mind, whether it is Sri Lanka, or South Africa home series, Twenty20 World Cup or the Australia series, we have decided to rest a few players, who need urgent rest,” Patil added.

India had faced stunning defeat losing the ODI series 1-2 to Bangladesh earlier this month.

“The selectors’ job is to pick the best possible combination. The rest is left to the team management. Once we select the team, it is left to the captain to make up the playing XI,” Patil said when asked about the team composition.

In Zimbabwe, India will play three ODIs (July 10, 12 and 14) followed by a couple of Twenty20 Internationals (July 17 and 19).

Following are the Indian team members selected for the Zimbabwe tour: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Harbhajan Singh, Axar Patel, Karn Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma.

(With inputs from the PTI)