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Supporters pumped up as Prithvi Shaw returns for New Zealand T20Is, Suryakumar Yadav for Australia Tests

The Indian squad for the New Zealand white-ball series and Australia Tests have been announced. While Prithvi Shaw has returned for the NZ T20Is, Surykumar Yadav has been called for the Aussie Tests, leaving supporters pumped up.

Supporters pumped up as Prithvi Shaw returns for New Zealand T20Is, Suryakumar Yadav for Australia Tests-ayh
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First Published Jan 14, 2023, 11:32 AM IST

Suryakumar Yadav has been added to India's Test team for the upcoming Border-Gavaskar series against Australia, with wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan getting his maiden call-up in the more extended version. Young opener Prithvi Shaw, who struck a career-best 379 in a Ranji Trophy match against Assam, has been rewarded with a call-up for the Twenty20 International (T20I) series against New Zealand. At the same time, wicketkeeper-batter KS Bharath replaced fellow wicketkeeper-opener KL Rahul in the One-Day International (ODI) set-up for the New Zealand series. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who is recuperating from knee surgery, has been included in the Test squad subject to fitness.

Pacer Jasprit Bumrah has yet to be selected on expected lines as he is far from being match-fit, which is required to play five-day cricket. Rahul and all-rounder Axar Patel have been given two weeks break during the New Zealand series for "family commitments", with the former likely to get married to Bollywood actress Athiya Shetty.

Surya's form couldn't be ignored
The Chetan Sharma-led new selection committee could not ignore Surya's current form as he got his second call-up in a Test squad. He had earlier been a cover in 2021 at Kanpur during a Test series against New Zealand. Whether he will get a chance in the playing XI can't be predicted, but his technique against spinners on Indian tracks is exemplary. With no Rishabh Pant in the mix, India still needs that X-factor in the middle order who can take the game away in one session.

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Hence Surya's addition is a welcome move in the 17-member squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Surya recently played two Ranji matches for Mumbai, scoring 90 against Hyderabad and 95 against Saurashtra quickly. He has already played 79 first-class games with 5549 runs at an average of nearly 45. As far as Ishan's selection is concerned, it was straightforward as he is a like-for-like replacement for Pant being a left-hander.

The Indian top-order only has right-handers, and even though Jadeja is now as good as a No. 6 in Test matches, his bowling fitness is yet to be judged. "KS Bharath is a better keeper, but he is nowhere close to Ishan, the batter. So, it won't be an easy choice against Australia as one needs to play fearless cricket. With Ishan, there won't be any half measures," a senior Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) source privy to selection matters told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Will seniors play a round of the Ranji Trophy or do a simulation at NCA?
The T20I squad against New Zealand makes it amply clear that Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul are no longer part of the shortest-format scheme of things. It is there to be seen whether Rohit, Virat, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja play a round of the Ranji Trophy during the two weeks before the Australia series or assemble for a camp at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, doing simulation training.

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"Someone like Jadeja, to prove his match fitness, might need to add overs to show that he can bowl 30-35 overs in an innings. They were playing Bumrah without a domestic game. We hope they don't do that with Jaddu. The policy of playing at least one domestic game should remain mandatory like it was a few years back," the source articulated.

As was mentioned by PTI, there wouldn't be any official announcement but a gradual phasing out of senior stars. Prithvi was one cricketer who couldn't be ignored, and his game in T20Is is something that the Indian team desperately needs at the top order. Shubman Gill, for all his talent and consistency, has yet to show a lot of intent in powerplays during the Sri Lanka series, something for which his predecessors got a lot of flak.

With New Zealand ODIs, it is expected that Ishan will be back in the playing XI as Rahul will be away for his marriage. Ditto for left-arm spin bowling all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed is expected to get some game time in Axar Patel's absence. The Gujarat all-rounder is also supposed to get hitched.

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India ODI squad vs New Zealand
Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (wk), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KS Bharat (wk), Hardik Pandya (vc), Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Moammed. Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Umran Malik.

India T20I squad vs New Zealand
Hardik Pandya (c), Suryakumar Yadav (vc), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, Shivam Mavi, Prithvi Shaw and Mukesh Kumar.

India squad for the first two Tests vs Australia
Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat and Suryakumar Yadav.

(With inputs from PTI)

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