Suryakumar Yadav will lead India in their five-match T20I series against Australia that starts days after their heart-breaking defeat against Australia in the 2023 ICC World Cup final.
The two sides lock horns just four days after the World Cup final at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium with the first of the first T20Is taking place in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.
Surya’s elevation to captaincy in the shortest format comes following an ankle injury to all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has has been leading India in T20Is after last year’s T20 World Cup. The Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee however, overlooked senior players Sanju Samson and Yuzvendra Chahal in their squad for the upcoming series.
Pandya had suffered an ankle injury during India’s group match against Bangladesh in Pune during the recently-concluded World Cup. Not only did the injury — which was later revealed to be a ligament tear — rule him out of the remainder of the World Cup as well as the Australia T20Is, it has also cast a shadow over his participation in the white-ball leg of the upcoming tour of South Africa starting December.
Surya, who is India’s designated vice-captain in the shortest format, didn’t have the best of runs in the World Cup after replacing Pandya in the middle-order. SKY collected just 106 runs in seven outings at an average of 17.66, the highest of which was a 47-ball 49 against England on a tough wicket in Lucknow, and could only manage 18 off 28 balls in the final against Australia.
The Mumbai Indians star will hope to make up for his underwhelming run in the World Cup with a series of strong performances in the upcoming series against Australia.
Test and ODI skipper Rohit Sharma has not been part of the T20I setup since leading the Men in Blue to the semi-finals of last year’s T20 World Cup in Australia, and neither are Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami, who finished at the top of the run-scorers’ and wicket-takers’ list respectively in the World Cup.
The decision to leave wicketkeeper-batter Samson, who is also a tried-and-tested opener, and leg-spinner Chahal will have left many a fan and expert surprised, especially after they were overlooked for the recently-concluded World Cup.
India, instead decided to pick Jitesh Sharma as their designated wicketkeeper-batter, with the likes of Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad set to play as batters.
Kishan was part of the World Cup but had featured only in the first two matches against Australia and Afghanistan as a replacement for Shubman Gill, who had been suffering from a bout of dengue. Gaikwad, who led India to Asian Games gold in Hangzhou, has been named vice-captain for the series.
As for the spin department, the selectors have gone with Ravi Bishnoi over Chahal as their wrist spinner alongside finger-spinners Washington Sundar and Axar Patel, who had initially been named in India’s World Cup squad but was later replaced by Ravichandran Ashwin due to left quadriceps strain suffered in the Asia Cup.
The pace department comprises left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh along with right-arm options Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Mukesh Kumar. All-rounder Shivam Dube is also expected to share some of the seam-bowling duties alongside the frontline options.
The Aussies, meanwhile, will be led by wicketkeeper-batter Matthew Wade with the squad featuring a number of World Cup-winners including opener Head, who was adjudged the ‘Player of the Final’.
Besides Head, senior batters David Warner and Steve Smith, all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, leg-spinner Adam Zampa and wicketkeeper-batter Josh Inglis have also been retained.
Regular Pat Cummins has been rested from the series along with fellow pacers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood.
The series will mark the beginning of preparations for next year’s T20 World Cup, which will take place right after the conclusion of the Indian Premier League and will be jointly hosted by the West Indies and USA.
India squad for Australia T20Is: Suryakumar Yadav (c), Ruturaj Gaikwad (vc), Ishan Kishan, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Shivam Dube, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar