NEW DELHI: Suresh Raina and Amit Mishra have been included in India’s MS Dhoni-led ODI squad for the first three ODIs of the five-match series against New Zealand starting October 16. Both cricketers last featured in ODIs in October 2015, during the South Africa series at home. They were not selected for the Australia or Zimbabwe tours this year, but now have a chance to push for further selection. With Shikhar Dhawan sidelined for at least another two weeks with a broken thumb and KL Rahul not recovered from his hamstring pull, the newly formed senior selection committee chose Mandeep Singh as opening partner to Rohit Sharma. Hardik Pandya, the Baroda allrounder, was also recalled. R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami have been rested keeping an eye on home Test series against England, Bangladesh and Australia in the next five months. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar ruled out of the Indore Test against New Zealand starting this weekend, the selectors have opted for Dhawal Kulkarni as the third fast bowler in the 15-man squad.
From India’s previous ODI series – a tour of Zimbabwe in June, featuring five uncapped players – seven players have been dropped: Ambati Rayudu, Faiz Fazal, Rishi Dhawan, Barinder Sran, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal and Karun Nair. From that squad, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni and Jasprit Bumrah have been retained. In his first public appearance as chairman of selectors, former India and Andhra wicketkeeper MSK Prasad stressed on Mandeep’s performance for India A in Australia recently, and how Raina’s experience and bowling gave him an edge in what he termed a squad “with several youngsters”. “Mandeep has played well in his brief chances with India in Zimbabwe and did exceptionally well as opener for India A in Australia, where I was present. He did well against players with international experience such as Kane Richardson and Marcus Stoinis,” said Prasad, who played 17 ODIs and six Tests between May 1998 and January 2000. “Suresh Raina has been picked because he offers a good bowling option and with several youngster in the team he offers experience. I was also very impressed by Hardik Pandya, who did excellently in all formats in Australia.”
This is Mandeep’s second call-up to an Indian squad. Earlier this year, he went to Zimbabwe and played in three T20Is, with a personal best of 52*. He now looks primed for an ODI debut, having scored 198 runs in six games for India A in the quadrangular series they won in Australia, with a best of 95 coming in the final to fetch him the Man-of-the-Match award. In 75 List A matches, the 24-year-old averages 38.29 with three hundreds and 18 fifties. Mandeep’s India A captain on that tour, Pandey, has kept his place in the ODI squad having traveled to Australia and Zimbabwe in 2016. The 27-year-old Karnataka batsman was the highest run-getter (359 in seven games, with two hundreds) in the India A quadrangular series. The bowling is a mix of experience and promise. The spin quotient is headed by Mishra and Axar, with the uncapped Haryana allrounder Jayant Yadav in the mix. With Bhuvneshwar injured, Ishant Sharma still not 100% after a bout of chikungunya and Shami rested, the new selection committee opted for Umesh Yadav, Bumrah and Kulkarni, was India A’s most successful bowler in the one-dayers in Australia with nine.