Suresh Raina has made his comeback to the India T20I side after a period of one year. He last represented India in the T20I series against England, the third T20I of which was played on February 1. Since then, Raina was on sidelines due to various reasons.
He was one of the five standby players for the ICC Champions Trophy and was on verge of making a comeback to the side for series against Sri Lanka but a failure in clearing the yo-yo test saw him not being considered. He spent a full season out of the national side – playing domestic cricket – and finally cleared the yo-yo test in December, last year.
He could have made a comeback to the national side then but his poor form in domestic cricket saw selectors not considering him. Raina finally hit the right notes in the last four games of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Uttar Pradesh where he played innings of 126*, 61, 56 and 16 respectively. This performance was enough for selectors to include him in the side as the team needs an experienced player in the middle order.
Players like Basil Thampi, Deepak Hooda, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar and Shreyas Iyer have been dropped for the T20I series. Iyer is a part of the ODI squad that has already reached South Africa for the limited-overs series.
Jaydev Unadkat, who hit a jackpot in the IPL auction, has retained his place in the T20I side while Shardul Thakur has also been included in the T20I side for the first time.
Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli have made their comebacks to the T20I side, after being rested for the series against Sri Lanka.
The three T20Is between India and South Africa will be played on February 18, 21 and 24. Prior to that, both the teams will play six ODIs, the last game of which will be played on February 16.
Team India squad for T20I series against South Africa:
Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Manish, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur.