• Kohli returns after missing Asia Cup
  • Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar given extended period of rest
  • Pandya and Kedar miss out due to injuries
  • Jadeja and Khaleel retained

The Board of Control for Cricket in India on Thursday, October 11 announced a 15-member squad for the first two of an upcoming five-match ODI series against the West Indies, starting October 21 in Guwahati. 

Captain Virat Kohli returns to lead the limited-overs side after being rested for India's victorious Asia Cup campaign in the United Arab Emirates last month. 

The national selection committee, led by former wicketkeeper-batsman MSK Prasad met in Hyderabad earlier today to pick the squad. 

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has also been included seemingly as a cover for MS Dhoni. Kolkata Knight Riders captain Dinesh Karthik makes way for the young Delhi stumper, who has been in fine form in the longest format of the game. 

Virat Kohli
File photo of India captain Virat Kohli.IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images

The inclusion of Pant was on the expected lines as the 21-year-old has shown a lot of promise in the longest format of the game. After scoring a century in England, the Delhi stumper smashed an entertaining 92 against the West Indies in Rajkot last week. 

With Dhoni getting the backing of the team management to continue till the 2019 Cricket World Cup despite poor form, Pant's inclusion augurs well for the team. The young wicketkeeper-batsman, who has struggled to be tidy behind the wickets, needs time to settle into the set up if he is to play at the showpiece event next year. 

Karthik, 33, had made decent use of the opportunities he had gotten on his comeback but his inability to convert starts into big scores is being seen as a cause of concern, according to The Times of India. 

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

Rayudu favorite for middle-order spot

Rohit Sharma, who led India to Asia Cup glory, will continue as the vice-captain of the team while his Shikhar Dhawan, who won the Man of the Match at the continental tournament, retains his place. 

Injury to all-rounder Kedar Jadhav has helped Manish Pandey retain his place in the middle-order while Ambati Rayudu, who impressed in the Asia Cup, is likely to make the playing XI as the No. 4 batsman. 

Opener KL Rahul has been included in the 15-man squad but he is likely to remain as the back-up opener. 

Meanwhile, Mohammed Shami, who was considered a Test specialist, makes his way back into the ODI side to lead the pace attack in the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah as the two all-format specialists have been given rest. 

Left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed, who showed promise at Asia Cup, retains his place in the squad along with Ravindra Jadeja, who stole the show on his ODI comeback in the UAE. 

India squad for the first two ODIs: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Rishabh Pant, R Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Khaleel Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, KL Rahul

Full schedule of India vs West Indies ODI series 

  • 1st ODI - October 21 in Guwahati
  • 2nd ODI: October 24 in Visakhapatnam
  • 3rd ODI: October 27 in Pune
  • 4th ODI: October 29 in Mumbai (Wankhede Stadium)
  • 5th ODI: November 1 in Thiruvananthapuram