The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced the team for the Zimbabwe series and the tour of West Indies. As expected, senior players have been rested for the ODI and T20 series against Zimbabwe, barring MS Dhoni, who will lead India in the coloured clothing tournament, while a strong Test team was picked for the West Indies tour.
The 16-member squad for the Zimbabwe series includes consistent performers in the IPL, like Karun Nair, Manish Pandey, Yuzvendra Chahal and KL Rahul. Besides having performed in the IPL, the selectors have also included those cricketers, who have been consistent in the domestic circuit like Rishi Dhawan and Jaydev Unadkat.
These players will be keen to make an impact in India colours and make a case for selection even when the established players return to the fold. With Dhoni leading the team in the ODI and T20 series, youngsters will depend on their skipper, who is the most experienced player in the team.
However, while the likes of Yusuf Pathan and Gautam Gambhir made a real case to be picked for the Zimbabwe tour with solid performances in the IPL, it looks like the selectors have clearly looked for players, who can represent India in the future as well.
Though India might have rested some of their stars, they should not have too many problems defeating Zimbabwe, who will host the Men in Blue for three ODIs and T20s.
The Test team for the West Indies tour do not have many surprise selections, with Virat Kohli leading the team. Ishant Sharma will be India's spearhead in the pace department, while R Ashwin will be the key spinner in the West Indies. Mohammed Shami has also been included in the Test side.
There is no change in the batting department for India, with Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay set to continue as openers, followed by Cheteshwar Pujara. Though Ajinkya Rahane might come to bat at number five, it could be a toss between Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, with the former yet to show his class in the longer format of the game. Wriddhiman Saha is the lone specialist wicketkeeper for the West Indies tour, but if a problem arises, they do have the services of Rahul, who can also keep wickets.
Shardul Thakur has been included in the Test squad, deservedly so, after some splendid bowling for Mumbai in the Ranji trophy. The bowler scalped 41 wickets last season, which must have prompted the selectors to give him a chance. Rest of the pacers are Ishant, Mohammaed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav.
India squad for Zimbabwe tour: MS Dhoni (C), KL Rahul, Faiz Fazal, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Ambati Rayudu, Rishi Dhawan, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, J Bumrah, Barinder Sran, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Jaydev Unadkat and Yuzvendra Chahal
India Test team for West Indies tour: Virat Kohli (C), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammaed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Stuart Binny.