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Shikhar Dhawan To Lead India In Sri Lanka; Padikkal, Sakariya Among The Debutants

Indian opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan celebrates his half century
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BCCI have announced the India squad for their upcoming tour to Sri Lanka in July with Shikhar Dhawan being named as the captain and fast-bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar chosen to be his deputy.

With most of the white-ball regulars away in England for the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand, India have named a second-string side for this series with no less than 5 debutants in the squad.

The fresh names in the squad include plenty of stars that have impressed in the recent season of the IPL such as Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham and Chetan Sakariya.

Among the debutants, Padikkal, Nitish Rana and Ruturaj Gaikwad have all starred for their respective franchises at the top of the order while fast-bowler Chetan Sakariya made an incredible start to his IPL career for the Rajasthan Royals in the first half of the 2021 season.

Devdutt Padikkal was named as the emerging player in IPL 2020 in the UAE and followed it up with some excellent performances for Karnataka in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, scoring 4 consecutive centuries and a whopping 727 runs throughout the tournament. Nitish Rana and Ruturaj Gaikwad have also impressed in recent matches, scoring 2 half-centuries in season 14 of IPL before its postponement.

The surprise inclusion and feel-good story of the squad, however, belongs to Chetan Sakariya. After battling personal tragedy, Sakariya bowled with a lot of heart for Rajasthan in this season of the IPL, picking up 7 wickets in the tournament. The left-armer will provide some variety to the Indian pace attack, in the absence of T Natarajan who is currently recovering from knee surgery. 

Another notable inclusion is that of Prithvi Shaw, who returns to the India set-up for the first time since India’s tour of Australia following his excellent season with the Delhi Capitals and his record 827-run tally for Mumbai in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. 

The Mumbai Indians trio of Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Chahar have also retained their places in the squad after their strong performances in the home series against England in March. Varun Chakravarthy also holds his place in the side after missing the T20 series against England due to fitness issues.

India will play three ODI’s (July 13, 16, 18) and three T20I’s (July 21, 23, 25) against Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa International Stadium in Colombo. Rahul Dravid – who has previously coached India A and India U-19 sides – has been confirmed as the coach of this team. 

Full India Squad: Shikhar Dhawan (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (Wicket-keeper), Sanju Samson (Wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Vice-captain), Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya

Net Bowlers: Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh


[Image Credit: ANI]