New Delhi, June 29: The BCCI's selection committee today appointed young batsman Ajinkya Rahane as the captain of a second-string Indian team for next month's tour of Zimbabwe. Regular skipper MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli were among the many key players rested.
The selection panel headed by Sandeep Patil decided to give a break to Dhoni, Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Rohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav while recalling veteran offspinner Harbhajan Singh and others. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was dropped. ('Captain should not act like a monkey')
Also making a comeback to the 15-member squad are Murali Vijay, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Robin Uthappa, Karn Sharma. Uncapped Karnataka batsman Manish Pandey and paceman Sandeep Sharma were also included. (Jokes on Jadeja after he is dropped)
There is no specialist wicketkeeper. Uthappa, Rayudu and also Jadhav have been part-time stumpers and one of them will take the big gloves in Dhoni's absence.
It is a big decision from the selectors to hand the captaincy reins to 27-year-old Rahane, who was dropped from the team for the final 2 matches against Bangladesh recently. India lost the series 1-2. The Mumbai right-hander has so far played 55 ODIs, scoring 1,593 runs with 2 hundreds and 9 half centuries.
India will play 3 ODIs and 2 T20Is starting from July 10. All the matches will be played in Harare. This series will played under the new ODI rules.
The selectors also announced the India 'A' squad. Cheteshwar Pujara will lead the side. India 'A' will play a tri-series ODI tournament at home with Australia 'A' and South Africa 'A' from July 19. This will be the first series for former captain Rahul Dravid as the team's coach.
India Squad for Zimbabwe series
Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu (wicketkeeper), Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav (wicketkeeper), Robin Uthappa (wicketkeeper), Manish Pandey, Harbhajan Singh, Axar Patel, Karn Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma.
Rested: MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Umesh Yadav, R Ashwin
Dropped: Ravindra Jadeja
India 'A' Squad
Cheteshwar Pujara (captain), KL Rahul, Abhinav Mukund, Karun Nair, Shreyas Iyer, Naman Ojha (wicketkeeper), Vijay Shanker, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Shardul Thakur, Varun Aaron, Abhimanyu Mithun, Umesh Yadav, Shreyas Gopal, Baba Aparajith.
Tour Schedule (all matches in Harare)
July 10: 1st ODI (12.30 PM IST)
July 12: 2nd ODI (12.30 IST)
July 14: 3rd ODI (12.30 IST)
July 17: 1st T20I (4.30 PM IST)
July 19: 2nd T20I (4.30 IST)