MS Dhoni returned to T20 International action, as also the One-day International squads as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the ODI teams for the series against Australia and New Zealand. The board also included MS Dhoni in the Twenty20 International (T20I) squad for New Zealand tour, while young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who was in the ODI squad for the Windies series, was dropped and will be returning home after the Test series in Australia. MS Dhoni's return comes as a surprise since he was dropped from the T20s against Australia only last month.
Squad for ODI series against Australia and New Zealand: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma (vice-capt), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami.
T20I squad for New Zealand: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma (vice-capt), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed.
Justifying the 37-year-old Dhoni's selection, a BCCI official, on conditions of anonymity, told PTI, "Since there are only eight ODIs (three against Australia and five against New Zealand), selectors want to give MS as much game time as possible (before the World Cup). Three T20Is means 11 international matches through the next one month."
In the ODI squad, the 21-year-old Pant's axing is the only change that the selectors have made to the side that competed against the Windies in a home series in October-November.
India are currently engaged in a Test series against Australia and will play three ODIs against them starting January 12 in Sydney. This will be followed by a limited-overs engagement with New Zealand, starting with five ODIs from January 23.
The three T20Is against Kiwis are lined up from February 6.
(With PTI inputs)