The 5-match T20I series against the Proteas will start from New Delhi on June 9 and the remaining matches being played at Cuttack, Visakhapatnam, Rajkot and Bengaluru.
The T20I squad for the SA series is likely to be selected on May 22 and the Indian side may see certain changes. Many seniors including captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul are all set to be rested for the upcoming five-match T20I series against South Africa, with an eye on the upcoming tour of England in July. Besides this, the selection committee is also considering Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant resting from the matches against the Proteas.
The PTI has already reported that an out-of-form Virat Kohli will also be given a much-needed break but it is understood that for BCCI as well as selectors, the tour of England starting in early July is a top priority. That is why all the senior players will get at least three weeks of complete rest and they will directly go to England for the fifth test following the white-ball series.
“We need all our key players to remain fresh for the England series,” a senior BCCI source told PTI.
It is understood that the left-hand opener Shikhar Dhawan and all-rounder Hardik Pandya have impressed all with their captaincies in IPL. They are the top contenders for the leadership role for both South Africa and the short two-match T20I against Ireland on June 26 and 28, hosted in Malahide, Ireland. These two matches will be played ahead of their tour to England, which starts with last summer’s rescheduled fifth test at Edgbaston on July 1.
The two players may come up with the leadership role for both South Africa and the Ireland T20I matches.
Asked about captaincy, the source said, “The selectors have a couple of choices. Shikhar Dhawan, as he has already captained India in absence of Virat, Rohit and Rahul during last year’s Sri Lanka series. But Hardik Pandya’s impressive captaincy for Gujarat Titans hasn’t gone unnoticed. So, it will be a close call.”
While Umran Malik has given a quite excited with his 150 kmph plus pace in IPL, and if given chance with the India A team could help him develop better. While a recent death over specialist Arshdeep Singh is also in the consideration. The man who is emerging as a ‘Dark Horse’ is Lucknow Super Giants Left-arm Mohsin Khan.
The pace bowling department is set and selectors might not experiment too much. But yes, Mohsin has impressed almost everyone with his pace, bounce and swing. He does have a chance.
Suryakumar Yadav or Ravindra Jadeja’s injury needs to be factored in and Deepak Chahar will also not be available. The players like Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Hooda with Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya are set to form the core of the batting unit.
Sanju Samson could also be retained. In the pace bowling unit, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Prasidh Krishna, Harshal Patel, and Avesh Khan are all certainties. And IPL spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav is also expected to make it to the squad.