India’s squad for the ODI series against South Africa was announced on Friday 31st December 2021. Rohit Sharma is not part of the squad due to his hamstring injury from which he is yet to recover. KL Rahul will lead the Indian side for the first time and Jasprit Bumrah was appointed as his deputy.
Ruturaj Gaikwad was awarded selection in the Indian ODI squad and is likely to make his ODI debut. Venkatesh Iyer has also received his first call up for ODIs and is expected to play the role of an all-rounder who can bat at six. Ravi Ashwin returned to the Indian ODI squad after the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
Shikhar Dhawan is in the squad after all the speculations surrounding his recent form. Mohammed Shami was rested and Ravindra Jadeja was also unavailable due to his injury. The chief selector Chetan Sharma stated that there were some players whose names were also considered for the selection but they will have to wait for their break in international cricket.
In the article, let’s look at five players who deserved to be a part of India’s ODI squad for the South Africa series
1. Rishi Dhawan
Rishi Dhawan has played three ODIs and a T20I for India. He made his international debut in MCG in 2016. Hailing from Himachal Pradesh, he is a fast-bowling all-rounder which is quite rare in the South-Asian countries. He was also captaining the Himachal Pradesh side in the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy and made the domestic team win the title.
In Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021 he scored 458 runs in 8 games at an average of 76.33 which included five fifties. His highest score in the tournament was 91*. He was the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament. He was also second in the list of highest wicket-takers, picking 17 wickets in that tournament. He was in both the charts which itself is quite extraordinary.
He was amazingly brilliant in that tournament. He was not so eye-catchy when he got to wear the Indian team jersey but his great form can be helpful for the team in the coming series. With Hardik Pandya not present in the squad he could have been a good option to invest in.
2. Avesh Khan
The fast bowler impressed everyone in the 2021 Indian Premier League and was in talks to be selected for the Indian team. Mohammed Shami is rested for the series which opened the doors for another fast bowler to feature in the squad but Mohammed Siraj and Prasidh Krishna were considered ahead of him.
The 25-year old Avesh Khan had a great IPL season in 2021 playing for Delhi Capitals. His overall IPL numbers are also very good as he has picked up 29 wickets in 25 games at an average of 25.83. His great performances got him a place in the Indian cricket team for the T20I series against New Zealand but he is yet to make his debut.
The Madhya Pradesh pacer was the second-highest wicket-taker in IPL 2021. He can move the new ball consistently and has variations to succeed in death overs too. When he is in rhythm, he can click the 140 km/h mark consistently. He can bowl both off-cutters and leg-cutters and has a wide variety of slower balls. It will be fair to say that he deserved a spot in the squad announced.
3. Shahrukh Khan
Shahrukh Khan had a great Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2021 where he took the responsibility to finish the games for Tamil Nadu. He is a strong guy who can slog the cricket ball to 75-80 yards effortlessly. He could be a good option to be given a place in the lower middle order. His main ability lies in increasing the rate of scoring runs when needed.
He put his best foot forward when he scored 79 runs in 39 balls against Karnataka and took his team to the semi-finals of Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021. His other highlight of the tournament was 66 off 35 balls against Mumbai in Tamil Nadu’s opening game of the tournament. Without a doubt, he found his rhythm from the outset.
He was part of the winning Tamil Nadu side in the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He scored 40 runs off just 19 balls in Quarter Final against Himachal Pradesh. He was also with the Punjab Kings in the IPL. He is highly expected to feature in the India camp soon. His name was also taken by the chief selector Chetan Sharma during the announcement of the squad.
4. Ravi Bishnoi
Ravi Bishnoi is a handy leg-spinner who can trouble the batters with his unpredictable variations. He is very young, raw, and unseen by many batters in South Africa which could be helpful for India. The previous ODI series in South Africa saw good performances from the wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal and the South African wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.
Bishnoi could have been a good option to be given an opportunity in South Africa. Kuldeep Yadav is not in the squad but Rahul Chahar will accompany Yuzvendra Chahal this time. Rahul Chahar also played in the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup and has been preferred over Ravi Bishnoi in this series too.
Ravi Bishnoi is only 21 years old and will get many opportunities to perform. He was given an IPL contract by Punjab Kings in the 2020 season and he ended the tournament with 12 wickets. He was also a contender to win the Emerging Player Award in that season. He played in the 2021 season too with Punjab Kings. It remains to be seen when Ravi gets honoured with the India cap.
5. Harshal Patel
The man with the golden arm Harshal Patel was the one to wear the Purple Cap in 2021 IPL. The tournament went on to be a memorable one for the lad. He equaled Dwayne Bravo’s record of taking the most number of wickets in a single IPL season (32 wickets). He was brilliant for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
He is playing in the IPL for quite some time now but his performances were not so good in the earlier seasons. The 2021 was a breakthrough year for him. His performances resulted in him making it to the Indian side against New Zealand in the T20I series where he made his debut too.
He was awarded the Player of the Match in his debut international game. He can be a good pick in the 50-over format too. He is excellent in the death overs with the old ball. He is master of pace variations in his bowling and he could have been successful in South Africa too. He deserved a place in the squad.