Mumbai, August 29: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, expectedly, did not figure in the Indian team for the upcoming three-match T20I series against South Africa while Hardik Pandya returned as the only change in the 15-member squad that recently trounced the West Indies. The selectors announced the team on Thursday (August 29) night.
Dhoni, who had taken a two-month sabbatical from the sport, is currently vacationing in the United States, after having served the Territorial Army for 15 days.
It couldn't be ascertained whether the selectors spoke to Dhoni about his availability for the home series against South Africa. It was on expected lines because the some of the BCCI officials had indicated that Dhoni will not be picked for the T20I series against the Proteas. They said the powers that be wanted to give more opportunities to Rishabh Pant, currently the No 1 choice wicketkeeper batsmen across the format for India. The officials indicated that such a move was important because of the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in Australia next year.
The younger of the Pandya brothers -- Hardik -- was back in the team after being rested to treat his minor niggles as part of the workload management programme. Hardik did not tour West Indies and in fact this will be his first competitive outing after the ICC World Cup 2019.
The squad is almost similar to the one that blanked the West Indies 3-0 in the previous series in the United States and the Caribbean.
Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the only player left out as a part of the workload management programme. Bhuvneshwar is currently in the West Indies with the Indian team and had performed well in the T20Is and ODIs in the Caribbean.
Squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini.