Rohit Sharma was named the captain of the Indian T20I side while Virat Kohli also returned to the shortest format of the game. The BCCI announced a 16-member squad for the 3-match series on Sunday, January 7, 2024.
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli returned to T20I cricket for the first time since November 2022 as the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) senior selection committee announced the squad for a 3-match T20I series against Afghanistan, starting January 11.
The series will see India face Afghanistan starting on January 11, 2024, at Mohali, followed by games on January 14 in Indore and January 17 in Bengaluru and it will be India’s last T20I assignment before the T20 World Cup in June.
India squad for Afghanistan T20Is
Rohit Sharma (C), S Gill, Y Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dube, W Sundar, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan, and Mukesh Kumar.
The senior selection committee, as reported by India Today, met in Mumbai on Sunday to pick the team. The 16-member squad has a good mix of youth and experience. Senior pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj have not been picked, keeping in mind the 5-Test series against England that will start at the end of the month.
India’s T20 World Cup 2024 schedule
Both Kohli and Sharma have not played a T20I since their last appearance in the semi-final of the 2022 T20 World Cup, where India lost to England. In 2023, with the ODI World Cup taking precedence, Rohit and Kohli directed their attention toward the 50-over format.
Despite expectations for their comeback in T20Is during the South Africa tour, they chose to extend their break. This decision sparked discussions about their potential availability for the 2024 T20 World Cup.
However, two key players, Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav, will miss the three-match series due to injuries. Pandya has been out of action since the ODI World Cup in 2023, and Yadav sustained an injury during the tour of South Africa, with his return expected only in the following month.
The pace duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj have also been rested after their extensive involvement in the recent Test series against South Africa.
The selection committee’s decision was awaited with great interest as this series is India’s final T20I assignment before the T20 World Cup in 2024.
Notably, Afghanistan named a full-strength 19-member squad for the high-profile series against India. Rashid Khan, their regular captain, was named in the squad, but he is unlikely to play even a single match as he is on the road to recovery following a back surgery in November 2023.
Ibrahim Zadran (C), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Ikram Alikhil (WK), Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Azmaullah Omarzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Fareed Ahmad, Naveen Ul Haq, Noor Ahmad, Mohammad Saleem, Qais Ahmad, Gulbadin Naib and Rashid Khan.