Virat Kolhli
File photo of Indian captain Virat Kohli (C) with Hardik Pandya (L) and MS Dhoni.GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images

Rohit Sharma will lead a 15-member Indian squad in a T20I tri-series (Nidahas Trophy) involving Sri Lanka and Bangladesh between March 6 and 18 in the island nation.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has rested captain Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Hardik Pandya for the series, which will be played to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the host nation's independence.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan has been appointed the vice-captain. The decision to rest some of the team's all-format players was taken considering the workload of what is expected to be a busy cricket season, with the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the much-anticipated tour of England. 

'Dhoni requested for rest'

Kohli missed the T20I series decider against South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday, February 23, due to a back injury. The likes of Kumar, Bumrah and Yadav, along with the skipper, had played across three formats in the recently-concluded tour of the Rainbow Nation.

Former captain MS Dhoni, who only plays ODIs and T20Is, was not available for selection, according to All India Selection Committee chairman MSK Prasad. 

"We have kept in mind the workload and upcoming schedule while finalizing the team for Nidahas Trophy. The high-performance team has suggested that adequate rest should be given to our fast bowlers to help improve athletic performance, maximize rest and prevent injury," Prasad said, according to BCCI's official website. 

"MS Dhoni was not available for selection as he had requested for rest."

Rishabh Pant, India, West Indies, Ajinkya Rahane, ODI series
File photo of India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant.Pal Pillai/Getty Images for Nissan

Youngsters given opportunities, in-form Karnataka batsman ignored 

Suresh Raina, who returned to the T20I team after a year's absence in South Africa, has retained his place in the squad following a good show in India's 2-1 win in the T20I series against the Proteas. 

The likes of Tamil Nadu all-rounders Vijay Shankar and Washington Sundar, Baroda big-hitter Deepak Hooda and Delhi wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant have earned a recall. 

However, Karnataka's Mayank Agarwal, who was expected to make the T20I squad after his consistent performances in the domestic season, has been snubbed. The 27-year-old has hit eight centuries, including a triple ton, since the start of Ranji Trophy 2017/18. 

The onus to lead the bowling attack, in the absence of senior pacers, now falls on Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur, who were part of the limited-overs squad in South Africa as well. They will be joined by Hyderabad pacer Mohammad Siraj, who made his T20I debut in November 2017. 

India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan (vc), KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Vijay Shankar, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammad Siraj, Rishabh Pant (wk).

India vs Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh: T20I tri-series 2018 schedule 

Date Match Venue
March 6 1st T20I Sri Lanka v India Colombo
March 8 2nd T20I India v Bangladesh Colombo
March 10 3rd T20I Sri Lanka v Bangladesh Colombo
March 12 4th T20I Sri Lanka v India Colombo
March 14  5th T20I Bangladesh v India Colombo
March 16 6th T20I Sri Lanka v Bangladesh Colombo
March 18 Final Colombo