India’s ODI squad for the three-match series against South Africa was announced on Sunday, with maiden call-ups for Rajat Patidar and Mukesh Kumar. Shikhar Dhawan will be leading the team in the absence of Rohit Sharma, who has been rested for the series. In addition, a host of first-team stars like Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, and Suryakumar Yadav among others have also been rested for the series.
In the wicketkeeping role, both Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant have been rested for preparations for the T20 World Cup, with Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson taking their respective places. Following the announcement of the squad, however, Karthik expressed his delight at Patidar and Mukesh receiving call-ups and urged for another Indian duo to be considered for selection in the longest format of the game.
“So happy to see Rajat patidar there , so deserves this selection. Well done to Mukesh Kumar too. Now Sarfaraz Khan and Indrajith baba into the test scheme of things . Can’t ignore such brilliant performers and performances.Theyve just been phenomenal. TALENT APLENTY,” Karthik wrote on his official Twitter profile.
Sarfaraz Khan produced some magnificent performances for his state side Mumbai as it reached the final of the Ranji Trophy in the previous edition. He ended as the tournament’s top-scorer, with 982 runs in six matches that included four hundreds and two half-centuries. He had also scored a century in the Irani Cup game, representing the Rest of India agianst Saurashtra.
Indrajith Baba, meanwhile, played only three games in the previous season of the Ranji Trophy, but smashed 396 runs including three centuries.
Mukesh, who received a maiden call-up in the ODI squad, is a prolific red ball bowler for Bengal, had performed just at the right time, emerging as top wicket taker in first class games against New Zealand ‘A’ and followed that up with another stupendous show in the Irani Cup. The 28-year-old quick had taken nine wickets in the three matches against New Zealand ‘A’, besides snapping 20 wickets for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy this year.
He also emerged as the wrecker-in-chief for Rest of India in the ongoing Irani Cup with a four-wicket haul which broke the back of the Saurashtra batting in Rajkot on Saturday.
Patidar, a stylish hitter, on the other hand, has scored centuries in IPL play offs, in the Ranji Trophy final and in “Tests” against New Zealand ‘A’ in the last three months.