India named a 16-member squad for ODI series in Australia and New Zealand in the New Year on Monday.
Hardik Pandya has made a comeback in the ODI and T20I squads after a three-month injury layoff. He last played an ODI for India during the Asia Cup in September. He was ruled out after the first game itself due to a back injury.
Rishabh Pant meanwhile, has been included only in the T20I team for the series against New Zealand. In fact, the T20I team will see three wicket-keepers in MS Dhoni, Pant and Dinesh Karthik.
The rest of the squad is the same which featured in the limited-overs series against the Windies in October-November.
Virat Kohli will lead the side with opener Rohit Sharma as his deputy. Dinesh Karthik has been retained in both squads while Ambati Rayudu is there in the one-day side. Hardik’s older brother Krunal has also retained his place in the T20 squad.
India will play three ODIs against Australia – January 12 (Sydney), 15 (Adelaide) and 18 (Melbourne).
It will be followed by a five-match ODI contest against New Zealand – January 23, 26, 28, 31 and February 3 before the T20I series against the Blackcaps – on February 6, 8 and 10.
This will be the last leg of India’s World Cup preparations. In 2018, India won bilateral ODI series against South Africa, West Indies and the Asia Cup. However, they lost an ODI series in England.
In Australia and New Zealand, India will be keen to see how their middle-order performs. A bulk of the scoring for India has been done by the top-three. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli have been in phenomenal form but there have been concerns down the order.
Dhoni, one of India’s greatest match-winners in limited-overs cricket, scored only 275 runs from 20 ODIs without scoring a half-century.
Meanwhile, Pant will return home after the completion of the four-Test series against Australia, as the Delhi southpaw was named in the India A squad for the five-match one-day series at home against the England Lions.
As soon as the news of Dhoni’s return in t20’s surfaced, Twitter erupted and celebrated it which resulted in Ms Dhoni’s name trending in Twitter at 2nd place. Check out some of the special ones here :
MS Dhoni fans right now pic.twitter.com/kTjLvDfbck
— AKSHAY SHARMA (@akshaygoutam7) December 24, 2018
MS Dhoni returns to India’s squad🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/hxsO9E23gt
— Mounesh Msdian (@john_mounesh) December 24, 2018
#MSDhoni is back to t20 squad
— Dhonism (@Dhonism3) December 24, 2018
— Troll Dhoni Haters Tamil Version (@tdhtv_offl) December 24, 2018
— Thala_Ak_I’m_Sk (@Im_Sk_YanN53) December 24, 2018
— Jay Jadwani (@diehard_msdian) December 24, 2018
Ladies And Gentleman !!
Mahi Is Back !!
— DineXH Khamari (@Ft_Dino) December 24, 2018
— Phanee (@Phanee77) December 24, 2018
— Boxoffice King (@BeingBhaijaan27) December 24, 2018
— Shubham (@Ad_the_idol) December 24, 2018
— Richa Gupta (@r1chaguptaa) December 24, 2018
— Kavin K (@kavinkumaar10) December 24, 2018
— Krishna 😎🙂 (@skbala621) December 24, 2018
— சிலம்பரசன் (@Silambusgm57) December 24, 2018
India’s squad for ODI series against Australia and New Zealand: Virat (Capt), Rohit (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami
India’s squad for T20I series against New Zealand: Virat(Capt), Rohit (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed.