Middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane was on Monday (29) named captain of a second-string Indian team for a short limited-overs tour of Zimbabwe as the selectors rested key players including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Ravichandran Ashwin have also been rested after India’s disappointing tour of Bangladesh where they lost the three-match ODI series 2-1.
“We are confident of Ajinkya’s ability (to lead) and want him to do well,” chief selector Sandeep Patil told reporters in New Delhi.
“We’re very happy the way his career is shaping up. He is one of the most consistent batsmen we have,” Patil said of the 27-year-old who has played 55 ODIs since his one-day debut in 2011.
“That’s why we want to see his other aspects. We have given him this opportunity and we’ll definitely back him,” said Patil, insisting the team was chosen with an eye on next year’s Twenty20 World Cup in India.
The team does not include any specialist glovesman but contains three batsmen – Robin Uthappa, Kedar Jadhav and Ambati Rayudu – who can keep wickets.
Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who turns 35 on Friday, was included in the 15-man squad even though he has not played one-day cricket for India since 2011 and Twenty20 matches since 2012.
Seamer Sandeep Sharma and batsman Manish Pandey are the two uncapped players in the squad.
All matches will be played in Harare, with the one-dayers scheduled for July 10, 12 and 14, and the Twenty20 games on July 17 and 19.
India squad for Zimbabwe tour: Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Harbhajan Singh, Axar Patel, Karn Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma.