Hardik, Dhawan, Bhuvi back for SA ODI series

AHMEDABAD: All-rounder Hardik Pandya returned to the Indian squad for the three-match ODI series against South Africa after a six-month injury lay-off along with fit-again senior opener Shikhar Dhawan and seasoned seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

This is the first selection meeting under new chairman Sunil Joshi.

However, vice-captain Rohit Sharma is yet to fully recuperate from his calf muscle injury and is expected to return to action during the Indian Premier League later this month.

Pacer Shardul Thakur and all-rounder Shivam Dube were dropped from the squad that played the ODIs in New Zealand while veteran Kedar Jadhav made way for young Shubman Gill, who played his last ODI more than a year back.

Pandya’s comeback was eagerly awaited by the team management after he underwent a back surgery. He proved his fitness with some blazing innings in the DY Patil Corporate T20 tournament under the watchful eyes of former chairman of selectors MSK Prasad.

Dhawan, who suffered a shoulder dislocation during Australia ODIs is also fit along with Bhuvneshwar, who underwent a sports hernia surgery in London.

Dhawan’s comeback meant exit for Mayank Agarwal, who wasted three chances in New Zealand while Prithvi Shaw’s positive batting has won him the vote of team management which enabled him to retain his place in the side.

The three ODIs will be played in Dharamshala (March 12), Lucknow (March 15) and Kolkata (March 18).

India’s ODI squad: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Virat Kohli (C), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill.

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