The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on December 31 (Friday) announced an 18-member squad for the upcoming three-match ODI series against South Africa. With Rohit Sharma failing to recover from the hamstring injury, KL Rahul has been appointed as the new captain while Jasprit Bumrah will work as his deputy.
Veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has returned to the ODI fold after four years while all-rounder Washington Sundar has also been picked after a long injury haul. Shikhar Dhawan, who led a second-string side in Sri Lanka has also been picked while in-form opener Ruturaj Gaikwad and all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer have earned maiden calls.
While the squad comprised of some star-studded cricketers, a couple of deserving candidates missed out on the list. Take a look at 3 cricketers who missed out from India’s 18-member squad for the ODI series against South Africa.
#3 Avesh Khan
The success of Avesh Khan is a reflection of the strong pool of fast bowlers India have built in the last few years. The fast bowler from Madhya Pradesh had a remarkable IPL 2021 finishing as the second-highest wicket-taker with 24 scalps.
Ever since he has been in good form picking up wickets consistently. Avesh had a good time in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma revealed that there were talks about Avesh during the selection committee but they settled for the experienced campaigners. However, the former India cricketer maintained that he will get his dues in the coming months.
#2 Prithvi Shaw
Ever since Prithvi Shaw bursts onto the scene, he has been in and out of the side. After a couple of inconsistent seasons, Shaw hit the peak in 2021. He was in blistering form for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021, finishing as one of their leading run-scorers with 479 runs.
The youngster had a poor start to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy campaign but soon made up for it before having decent returns for India A in the South Africa tour.
Shaw played as an opener in the Sri Lanka series and give very good starts; however, was dropped from the South Africa series which has earned some eyeballs. With an average of 56.48 in List A cricket at a strike rate of almost 125, Shaw deserves a shot in the ODI squad.
#1 Shahrukh Khan
Shahrukh Khan was a designated finished for the Punjab Kings in IPL 2021, where he scored 153 runs from 11 matches, batting lower down the order at an average of 21.85 and a strike rate of 134.21.
Shahrukh Khan was also key for the state side when they trumped Karnataka in the final of the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He blasted a last-ball six to take Tamil Nadu over the line. His blistering form continued even in the Vijay Hazare Trophy where he made telling contributions whenever his side needed him the most.
With India lacking a dedicated finisher, there were speculations that the selectors might try Shahrukh Khan with two World Cups to follow. However, the selection panel settled for Venkatesh Iyer with Chetan Sharma admitting that Shahrukh’s time will come at some point.