With Hardik Pandya set to be out of action for an indefinite period with an ankle injury, the selectors are likely to name Suryakumar Yadav as captain for the T20I series against Australia. The five-match home T20I series will begin just four days after the World Cup final. The Ajit Agarkar-led selection is likely to announce the squad by Tuesday. According to an Indian Express report, majority of India’s World Cup squad members will get a break from the T20I series. A second-string squad under the leadership of Suryakumar will be announced to take on the Aussies, who too miss the services of regulars like Pat Cummins, Mitchell Marsh, and Mitchell Starc.
Hardik twisted his ankle while trying to stop a ball on his follow-through in a World Cup match against Bangladesh in Pune. He did not play any part in the match and hobbled off the field. Initially, it was reported that the all-rounder might regain his fitness within a couple of weeks and would take part in the latter half of the group stage but as the tournament progressed, it came to light that he had a tear and was ruled out of the tournament. Prasidh Krishna was named his replacement in the World Cup squad.
Hardik’s injury, however, is set to take way longer than expected. The all-rounder will not miss the home series against Australia but is also likely to be out of the South Africa tour.
In his absence, Ruturaj Gaikwad’s name was also doing the rounds as a possible candidate for captaincy for the Australia T20Is. The right-hander, who led India to a historic gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou last month, is sure to be a part of the squad but with the selectors ready to pick Surya, the choice for the captain was obvious. Surya has been Hardik’s deputy in the shortest format since the beginning of this year. The right-hander from Mumbai is also the world’s best T20I batter at the moment and also holds the No.1 ranking among batters.
Apart from Surya, the three other World Cup squad members likely to be a part of the Australia T20Is are Ishan Kishan, Prasidh Krishna and Shardul Thakur. With Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Mohammed Siraj all set to take a break, Krishna is likely to be the leader of the pace attack in the Australia series. He will have Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik and Avesh Khan for company.
The spin department is set to be led by Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravi Bishnoi with Shahbaz Ahmed taking and a fit-again Axar Patel replacing Ravindra Jadeja.
The likes of Tilak Varma, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shivam Dube, Rinku Singh are more or less confirmed to hold on to their spots while Sanju Samson will also make a comeback.
The first India vs Australia will take place on November 23 in Vizag, followed by matches in Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati, Raipur, and Bengaluru.