Missing out on the Test in Edgbaston due to COVID-19, the selectors are expecting opening batter Rohit Sharma to have recovered in time to resume captaincy duties for the white-ball leg of the series in England. Rohit has been named skipper for both T20Is and ODIs part of the limited-overs section of India’s July tour of England.
Rohit takes the captaincy honour back from Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya, who were placed at the helm of affairs temporarily for the five-match T20I series at home against South Africa and the short stop-over trip to Ireland, respectively.
The veteran cricketer, in whose absence Jasprit Bumrah will be leading the Test side in Birmingham, had been named all-format skipper of India late last year. Since then, Rohit has been facing issues and missing games because of injuries, bout with coronavirus and also the excessive burnout amidst a tiring schedule.
Nevertheless, he is set to resume his leadership reign and bat at the top of the order for India with the three-match T20I series against England, followed by a same set of ODIs versus the hosts. Had Rohit been available for the Edgbaston Test, his participation in the first T20I on July 7 in Southampton would’ve been uncertain given a one-day gap and instant switch between the two formats.
This superquick turnaround and switch was a major factor why the selectors opted for separate squads for the T20I series, with all the Test regulars, apart from Rohit, missing from the opening game at the Rose Bowl.
The likes of Bumrah, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, and Ravindra Jadeja will not be taking part in the opening T20I as the team management and selectors wanted to give them time to recover from the Test mode and have an extra net session heading into the final two T20Is in Birmingham and Nottingham on July 9 and 10.
The return of these gents into the white-ball side of things meant no place for Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi and Arshdeep Singh for the second and the third T20Is, although they are in the squad for the opening game.
The selectors have continued to overlook Mohammad Shami in T20Is despite the experienced seamer having a fruitful IPL with Gujarat Titans, taking 20 wickets at 8 runs an over while playing every single game for the eventual champions. Shami hasn’t been picked in the shortest format of the game since being dropped in the aftermath of India’s Super 12 exit in UAE at the T20 World Cup.
The selectors seem to have made up their mind over their fast-bowling resources led by Bumrah and want to continue persisting with the young lot ahead of the marquee tournament in Australia later this year. A beneficiary of the same is J&K enforcer Umran Malik, who is part of the squad for all England T20Is, as is allrounder Deepak Hooda after a terrific hundred against Ireland.
While not retained for the T20Is, Arshdeep has earned a maiden call-up for the ODIs against the world champions in a squad that witnesses the return of Pandya, Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan and utility cricketers Shardul Thakur and Axar Patel.
With an eye towards the 2023 World Cup, too, the selectors have Rohit and head coach Dravid a full-strength team to take on the rampaging England ODI side.