Hardik Pandya was on Monday named T20I captain for the short three-match series in New Zealand, starting November 18 (four days after T20WC final).
A look at the team gives ample indication that the Gen Next is ready to take over after the T20 World Cup.
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma had both asked for rest and KL Rahul might have been given a break due to personal reasons. They might well play the shortest format for India, but a change in stance can’t be ignored.
But Karthik, who played 27 T20Is in 2022 till the South Africa game, has been ignored for the three games against New Zealand.
Nor does Ashwin, who on insistence of skipper Rohit Sharma was brought back into T20 scheme of things after four years.
“The World Cup is going to finish in some days and so we need to decide whom to rest or not. He (Karthik) has been performing and he is available to us. But this time we just thought of trying a different set of players after the World Cup,” chairman of selectors Sharma told reporters in a virtual interaction after announcing an unprecedented four squads for two separate away series.
While Sharma refused to divulge details on Karthik’s injury, he also didn’t want to discuss why the veteran stumper needed workload management having played only 27 T20s for India over the last four months.
“The medical team is looking after him, it’s an internal matter so it’s not wise to disclose anything here. He is part and parcel of the World Cup and he is doing well.”
But it is understood that Indian cricket is finally ready to move beyond Karthik. In 2019, World Cup ended his 50 over career and 2022 might just witness his international T20 swansong .
It is understood that with Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson and skipper Hardik already in the squad, the trio will be groomed as designated finishers.
Shubman Gill’s entry could well mean that Rahul, not the best T20 opener going around, could be phased out of the shortest format in a systematic manner in near future.
The new approach would require fresh faces with no apparent baggage.
What happens to Kohli, Rohit?
With only one year left for the 50 over World Cup in India, both skipper Rohit and Kohli will be focusing on ODIs along with Test cricket. But that doesn’t mean they would leave T20Is. At least that’s not the indication that they have given.
“The selection committee has started this transition phase consciously as T20Is are not priority in the year 2023. ODIs are and so some players in certain slots could be tried out and seen if they are fitting in those slots. T20Is again become important in 2024 in World T20 year,” a BCCI source said.
But Prithvi Shaw, easily one of the best talents in India, being ignored time and again does rankle.
“We are in constant touch with Prithvi. He is doing well and he will definitely get his chance very soon,” said Sharma.
Shaw has scored 285 runs in seven games with a strike-rate of 191 plus in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament and yet he has missed the bus.
Ravi Bishnoi will also feel hard done by to have missed the bus since Kuldeep Yadav’s comeback means that three wrist spinners can’t play in the same set up.
Is it last selection meeting for Chetan Sharma’s committee
It has never happened that selectors have named four squads for two different tours in a single day, like Sharma did for New Zealand and Bangladesh.
When asked if this was his committee’s last meeting or not, he was evasive: “I don’t know about that”.
Sharma’s committee, which also has Debasish Mohanty (East), Harvinder Singh (Central) and Sunil Joshi (South), have often faced flak for lack of consistency in selections and there is a strong buzz that some of them may be changed once new Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) takes charge.