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General News India ODI squad for New Zealand announced

Mahendra Singh Dhoni will lead a squad that is a blend of youth and experience for the first three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against New Zealand. Several senior players, who were rested for the Zimbabwe tour in June this year, return to the ODI squad. Some of the players who performed well in the Quadrangular A-Team series in Australia recently have also been named in the team selected by the newly-formed panel, headed by former India wicketkeeper-batsman MSK Prasad, in its maiden selection assignment on Thursday (October 6).

While seniors Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Amit Mishra, who were rested for the Zimbabwe series in June, return to the ODI set-up, the injured Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were not picked, nor was Ishant Sharma, who is recovering from Chikungunya. The selectors also chose to rest R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, while Mohammed Shami too has been given a break.

Also returning to the team is Suresh Raina, who wasn't part of the selectors' scheme of things until today. The 29-year-old left-handed batsman last played an ODI in October 2015 and was subsequently left out of the team owing to poor form.

Justifying the inclusion of Raina, the All India Senior Selection panel chairman Prasad said: "We had given a break to Suresh Raina in the Zimbabwe series and he has comeback as he did well in the Duleep Trophy, got runs there. We needed a middle order batsman who can also bowl. This is a relatively young team with Jadeja, Ashwin and Shami rested. So we needed somebody who can bat and contribute with the ball."

"Mayank Agarwal is a good cricketer and is definitely a part of the scheme. The reason we had to bring in Raina is because of his bowling, apart from the experience he brings with his batting," Prasad added.

Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya was chosen over Stuart Binny for the pace-bowling all-rounder's position, but it remains to be seen if he makes it into the XI considering his dwindling stocks that has followed his promising Twenty20 International (T20I) debut in Australia. The 22-year-old, who had a forgettable outing in the World T20 competition earlier this year, is yet to feature in an ODI.

Speaking about Pandya's selection, Prasad said he is a talented allrounder who is worth investing. "We have very few talented all-rounders like Hardik Pandya and that is the reason we fielded him in Australia. He bowled exceptionally well in all the formats we played and whenever the team required, Dhawal (Kulkarni) and Hardik Pandya rose to the occasion. (We are) convinced that Pandya is an all-rounder who we can look forward to."

Manish Pandey, who has shown good form in limited-overs cricket, holds on to his spot. The 27-year-old right-hander scored his maiden ODI century against Australia earlier this year and was also the highest run-getter in the quadrangular series. The likes of Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav and Dhawal Kulkarni also earned themselves berths in the ODI squad following good performances in the four-team series in Australia.

There is no spot for legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who had an impressive outing during the Zimbabwe series. Axar Patel and Mishra are the front-line spinners while Jayant Yadav too will be vying for a spot in the eleven.

In the pace department, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Dhawal Kulkarni are the options available for Dhoni. Bumrah, whose accurate yorkers have served the team well ever since his international debut in January this year, has shown steady growth as a limited-overs cricketer. Yadav's experience will play an important role when the decision on the eleven is taken while Kulkarni's good form also augurs well for the Indian team and will give the management some selection headaches.

The five-match ODI series begins on October 16 in Dharamsala, four days after the conclusion of the third and final Test in Indore, in which India have already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead and thus the series.

India squad for the first three ODIs

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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