Uncapped Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson and Railways leg-spin-bowling allrounder Karn Sharma have been named in India’s 17-man squad for the five ODIs and one-off Twenty20 against England.
Mumbai seamer Dhawal Kulkarni, who was picked in the ODI squad for the home series against West Indies last year but was then ruled out with injury, has been included.
Suresh Raina, who was dropped from the ODI squad for the Asia Cup but led a second-string team to Bangladesh in June, also makes the 17. Agencies
Fast bowlers Mohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav have also been retained from the squad which played in Bangladesh, while legspinner Amit Mishra misses out due to injury.
“Only Amit Mishra had been ruled out of selection since he is undergoing treatment and rehab following a back injury,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said, after the squad was announced. “Considering the World Cup, the management as well as the selectors have put more emphasis on selecting some of the youngsters like Sanju Samson, Mohit Sharma, Stuart Binny and Karn Sharma.”
Samson, 19, was part of the India Under-19 team at the World Cup earlier this year, and had also impressed with his clean hitting and solid temperament for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2014. He finished as India A’s highest run-scorer in the recently-concluded quadrangular one-day series in Australia, with 244 runs from seven innings at an average of 81.33.
He kicked off the quadrangular with 81 against Australia A, after coming in with his team at 70 for 4 – and then 84 for 6 – in a chase of 253. He brought down the equation to 29 needed off 23 before he was the last man out. While he couldn’t get the team home in that game, later on in the tournament he took them all the way in successive chases with unbeaten scores of 55 and 49.
Kulkarni was the leading wicket-taker in the quadrangular, with 14 scalps in six matches at 18.78, including a five-wicket haul and an impressive economy rate of 4.61. Karn was also part of the India A squad for the series. While he got only three games there, he managed to give a glimpse of his batting skills against South Africa A, hitting 39 off 16 to take India A across the line in a nail-biting chase. He was quite effective with the ball for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2014, with 15 wickets at 25.06.
With Mishra – India’s first-choice legspinner of late – being ruled out, Karn will provide MS Dhoni with the leg-spin option. The selectors have included him as the third spinner in the squad anticipating that an additional spinner may be required during the series as it will be played towards the end of English summer when the pitches start assisting the slow bowlers.
Stuart Binny, who took a record-breaking 6 for 4 – the best bowling figures by an Indian in ODIs – in the Bangladesh series, stays on as the pace-bowling-allrounder, but Test-specialist Cheteshwar Pujara, who also featured in that series, misses out.
The first of the five ODIs will be played in Bristol on August 25, with matches in Cardiff, Nottingham, Birmingham and Leeds following. The T20 will be played in Birmingham on September 7, rounding off India’s 10-week tour of England.