India has been dealt a big blow ahead of the series against Australia as all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of the series with stiffness to the lower back. Ravindra Jadeja has been named his replacement in the ODI squad. No one has been named as his replacement for the T20I series.
"The BCCI Medical team decided to rest the all-rounder and let him undergo strength and conditioning work for his lower back at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. Mr. Pandya will begin his strength work from next week," a BCCI press release said.
The two-match T20I series begins on Sunday, February 24 in Visakhapatnam, while the 50-over contests begin on March 3 in Hyderabad.
Great opportunity for Jadeja
Pandya, who made a comeback after being suspended for his controversial comments on a talk show, was impressive in New Zealand with the bat and ball. As the Indian team prepares for the World Cup, his absence could give an opportunity to both Vijay Shankar and Ravindra Jadeja to stake their claim as another viable option in the squad. Hardik was earlier injured in the Asia Cup and made his comeback for the Test series in Australia. His progress will be assessed in the NCA.
"And it was great to see Hardik, the way he came back. He's a natural talent, he is a match-winner. And he showed what he can do today with the bat. Those 20-30 runs made all the difference today," head coach Ravi Shastri spoke about the all-rounder after the 5th ODI match against New Zealand.
India's squad for 1st and 2nd ODI against Australia: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Siddharth Kaul, KL Rahul
India's squad for remaining three ODIs: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant