Hardik Pandya, the T20I captain, is unlikely to be available for India’s upcoming five-match series against Australia, which starts on November 23. He needs more time to recover from his left-ankle ligament tear.
The team for the T20I series against Australia will be announced after India’s World Cup semifinal, expected to be on November 15. According to sources in the BCCI, it would be more practical for Hardik to aim for a return during the South Africa T20 series, which begins on December 10 in Durban.
“There is some time before Hardik can be declared fit and available for selection. It would be more practical for him to try and complete his rehabilitation with a possible ‘RTP’ (Return To Play) during SA series.”
”It will certainly be NCA Sports science team’s call,” An anonymous senior BCCI source informed PTI about the developments
Hardik Pandya is not expected to recover from his injury in time for India’s five-match series against Australia
It is expected that either Suryakumar Yadav, the appointed vice-captain of the T20I squad, or Ruturaj Gaikwad, the Asian Games gold medal-winning captain, will lead the team.
While Suryakumar Yadav is participating in the ODI World Cup, unlike senior players such as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and the fast bowlers who need to be prepared for the Test series, he is currently considered a specialist in two white-ball formats.
It’s commonly accepted that Indian white-ball specialists, especially batsmen, can participate in 25-30 matches each year in two white-ball formats, excluding the IPL, as long as their fitness allows it.
So, if Suryakumar Yadav doesn’t request a break, he’s the top candidate to captain the team. If not, Ruturaj Gaikwad is the next best option.
Considering the T20 World Cup in the Americas
The T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in the Americas (United States and West Indies) in June and July next year. The core team for the Australia series will consist of players who participated in the Ireland and Asian Games matches.
“Obviously, during any big event, someone like Jasprit Bumrah will be pressed into the action as he would be nicely warmed up with sufficient game time post the Indian Premier League. Ditto for a Mohammed Siraj,” the official said.
Players such as Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan, and Mukesh Kumar are expected to be selected for the series.
The upcoming Australia series is likely to see the return of players like Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan, and Yuzvendra Chahal, in addition to those who excelled during the Asian Games.
If Axar Patel recovers from his hamstring injury, he will be considered for selection, especially since Ravindra Jadeja is expected to be rested before the South Africa tour.