Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli Return to India’s T20I Squad for T20 World Cup Preparations

Mumbai, India – Indian cricket stars Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have returned to the T20I squad after more than a year’s absence from the format. The duo is set to feature in the upcoming three-match series against Afghanistan, which will serve as India’s last T20I assignment before the T20 World Cup in June.

Sharma, a prolific batsman, has been named the captain of the squad. In his absence, the team was led by Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav, who unfortunately are both currently injured and unavailable for selection.

Sharma and Kohli last played T20Is in November 2022, during India’s semi-final defeat to England in the T20 World Cup. Since then, they have prioritized Test cricket and ODIs, focusing on the World Test Championship final and the ODI World Cup in 2023. However, their selection for the upcoming T20I series indicates that they are now back in India’s plans for the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the USA.

Hardik has primarily led the Indian team in T20Is since the 2022 T20 World Cup, with Suryakumar taking on the captaincy duties during Hardik’s absence due to an ankle injury in the 2023 ODI World Cup. Suryakumar went on to lead India in the subsequent T20I series against Australia and South Africa but suffered an ankle injury himself, ruling him out for a couple of months. Both players are expected to make their return during the IPL in March.

Several other players have been excluded from the squad due to injuries. Ruturaj Gaikwad will not feature as he continues to recover from a finger injury sustained in South Africa, while KL Rahul has not been included in the 15-member squad. Additionally, Ishan Kishan has opted out, citing the need for a break to re-focus on his game.

The T20I squad features a mix of experienced and young players. Jitesh Sharma, who recently played in the T20I series against Australia and South Africa, has retained his spot as the wicketkeeper. Sanju Samson, who has not been part of India’s T20I plans since a tour of Ireland in August last year, will serve as his back-up. Samson impressed with a maiden international century during the ODI leg of the South Africa tour.

Allrounder Shivam Dube receives another opportunity to showcase his skills in T20Is following an impressive performance in the IPL 2023, where he played a crucial role for the Chennai Super Kings. Dube was also part of the Indian squad that won the Asian Games gold in October last year.

Several key players, including Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Shreyas Iyer, and Ravindra Jadeja, have been rested to manage their workload ahead of the five-Test series against England. In their absence, the selectors have opted for Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan, and Mukesh Kumar in the squad.

The T20I series against Afghanistan will be followed by a much-awaited series against England. After that, the players will regroup and join their respective IPL teams for the 2024 season. The T20 World Cup is scheduled to begin on June 1.

India’s T20I squad for the series against Afghanistan includes: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dube, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar.

These developments mark an exciting return for Sharma and Kohli to the T20I fold, as India aims to build a strong team for the upcoming T20 World Cup.