Rohit back, Ashwin out of West Indies series with niggles
Rishi Dhawan and Shahrukh Khan are expected to get call-ups for the series against West Indies starting on February 6.
CHENNAI: A fully-fit Rohit Sharma is all set for a comeback and will lead India in the upcoming limited-overs series against West Indies which begins in Ahmedabad on February 6. The senior national selection committee is scheduled to meet over the next couple of days to pick the ODI and T20 teams and it is understood that off-spinner R Ashwin who recently made a comeback to the limited-overs fold will miss the Windies series with a niggle.
The selectors are also likely to include Rishi Dhawan, who had an outstanding season and guided Himachal Pradesh to Vijay Hazare Trophy, in the ODI squad after a six-year gap. Tamil Nadu's Shahrukh Khan is also a strong contender for the three T20Is to be played in Kolkata from February 16 to 20.
Ashwin is understood to have a couple of niggles and played the ODIs against South Africa after taking injections. The 35-year-old has been advised around three-weeks rest for the injection to take effect and is expected to be fit in time for the Test series against Sri Lanka starting on February 25.
Apart from Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, who has not played a competitive match since the T20 World Cup because of a right forearm injury, will also remain unavailable. It is learnt that the all-rounder is on road for recovery and could be available for the home series against Sri Lanka. If not, he will return during the Indian Premier League.
Hardik Pandya, who head coach Rahul Dravid spoke about as a key all-rounder to find the balance, is unlikely to be considered for selection. It is understood that Pandya has been practicing at his home and is working on a schedule given to him by a strength and conditioning coach. However, it is learnt that the selectors are in no rush to recall him and want Pandya to prove his fitness levels as he even missed the domestic tournaments held in November-December.
Shahrukh and Dhawan were among the stand-out performers in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 and Vijay Hazare Trophy. The former only enhanced his reputation of being a finisher, winning Tamil Nadu the title with a last ball six against Karnataka. In the Vijay Hazare Trophy that followed, Dhawan, apart from scoring 458 runs, picked up 17 wickets in eight matches to captain Himachal to their maiden domestic crown.
Though Venkatesh Iyer is around for the all-rounders role, the selectors are keen on trying Dhawan at least in the ODIs with the former being looked at as an option for T20Is.
Meanwhile, it would also be interesting to see if the selection committee led by Chetan Sharma sticks with Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The seamer has been struggling off-late and there is a noticeable drop in pace. With Deepak Chahar time and again proving his capabilities in the limited opportunities, it won't be a surprise if Kumar is dropped for the series. Washington Sundar and Axar Patel are expected to be back.