Suryakumar Yadav And Ruturaj Gaikwad In India Captaincy Race For Australia T20Is

Written by Sumit Seth

Injured T20I captain Hardik Pandya is unlikely to be available for India’s upcoming five-match series against Australia starting November 23 as the star all-rounder will require more time to recover from his left-ankle ligament tear. It is understood that the team for the home T20I series against Australia will be announced only after India’s World Cup semifinal, which in all likelihood will be played in Mumbai on November 15. According to sources in the BCCI, a more practical scenario for Hardik would be to get fit by the time the South Africa T20 series starts from December 10 in Durban.

“There is some time before Hardik can be declared fit and available for selection. It would be more practical for him to try and complete his rehabilitation with a possible ‘RTP’ (Return To Play) during SA series. It will certainly be NCA Sports science team’s call,” a senior BCCI source privy to the developments told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

It is understood that either Suryakumar Yadav, the designated vice-captain of the T20I side, or Asian Games gold-winning skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad will be leading the side.

While Surya is playing in the ODI World Cup, unlike seniors like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and the pace unit, which needs to be fresh for the Test series, the Mumbai Indians star is currently being looked at as a two-format white-ball specialists.

It is an accepted norm that white-ball Indian specialists (especially batters) can play 25-30 games per year across two white-ball formats apart from IPL, fitness permitting. Hence, if Surya himself doesn’t ask for rest, he is the favourite to lead the side. If not, Ruturaj is the next best choice.

Looking at T20 World Cup in the Americas

The T20 World Cup will be held in the Americas (United States and West Indies) in June and July next year after the IPL and the core team for the Australia series will be formed by all those who played in Ireland and the Asian Games.

“Obviously, during any big event, someone like Jasprit Bumrah will be pressed into the action as he would be nicely warmed up with sufficient game time post the Indian Premier League. Ditto for a Mohammed Siraj,” the official said.

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Sumit Seth