India looked like turning over a new leaf in T20 cricket as they selected a squad with a number of 20-over specialists for the Sri Lanka series at home.
India were blasted by England in the T20 World Cup semi-final, losing by 10 wickets while defending 169. That squad in Australia was almost entirely made up of India’s first-choice Test team and came in for heavy criticism.
Pandya, who captained the Gujarat Titans to the IPL title this year in their debut season, will also serve as vice-captain under Rohit for the ODI series.
That means Pandya has leapfrogged KL Rahul on the leadership ladder, with the latter now selected only as a batsman wicketkeeper for the ODIs and omitted for the T20s.
Out-of-form wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has been dropped from both white-ball squads. Seam bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar too has not been selected for either format, which could mean the end of the road for him.
Wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan has been included in both teams, after recently smashing the fastest ever ODI double ton against Bangladesh. Opener Shubman Gill, young quick Umran Malik and spinner Yuzvendra Chahal are some of the main players featuring in both squads.
Sri Lanka’s tour begins with the first of three T20s in Mumbai on January 3 before a three-match ODI series from January 10-15.
India T20 squad
Hardik Pandya (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, Mukesh Kumar
Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh