India’s limited overs cricket will usher in a new era with the national selectors expected to name Virat Kohli as the captain when they pick the squad for three ODIs and three T20 Internationals against England in Mumbai on Friday.
Test skipper Kohli is expected to be anointed captain of the limited overs teams also, after Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to step down from the job in a surprise decision last night.
While there should not be any doubt regarding Kohli taking over as skipper of the limited overs team, the selectors have the onerous task of choosing the two squads having a right balance as there has been a spate of injuries to top players recently.
Two key Mumbai batsmen — Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane — have been ruled out with injuries, which may give a chance to out-of-form Shikhar Dhawan, if he’s declared fit, to open the innings with K L Rahul, unless the selectors spring a total surprise and bring in a newcomer.
Karnataka’s Rahul missed the ODI series against New Zealand due to an injury while Delhi batsman Dhawan too got injured in the preceding Test rubber against the Kiwis.
The left-handed Dhawan last played in an ODI in Australia in January last. After flopping in the first two matches, he struck a purple patch in the remaining three games of that series to make a century and two half centuries.
Karun Nair, who scored a brilliant triple hundred in the fifth and final Test against England in Chennai, is expected to be chosen in place of Rahane whom he also replaced in the Test team.
A question mark, however, remains regarding key spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who cited an injury after the conclusion of the 4-0 Test drubbing of England and has not played in Ranji Trophy for his state team Tamil Nadu. He also missed the ODI series against New Zealand as he was rested to keep fresh for the subsequent Test rubber against England.
Second off-spinner Jayant Yadav was out ruled out of the last Test of the series against England due to an injury and it would be interesting to see whether the two slow bowling all-rounders will be chosen by the selectors without proving match fitness.
Although Dhoni has stepped down as captain of the limited overs team, he has made himself available to play under a new captain, which should be Kohli, and this has been conveyed to the selectors who, thus, will choose him over other claimants.