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Seniors rested for Zimbabwe tour, Rahane to lead


New Delhi, June 29:

Middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane will captain a 15-member Indian cricket team as both Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli have been rested for the limited overs tour of Zimbabwe.

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane

India will tour the southern African country for three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and two Twenty20 Internationals from June 10 to 19.

The All-India Senior Selection Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), headed by Sandeep Patil, met here on Monday and decided to rest, along with Dhoni and Kohli, opening batsmen Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and pacer Umesh Yadav.

Meanwhile, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh made a comeback into the side following his first international appearance after a two-year hiatus in the drawn one-off Test against Bangladesh recently. Harbhajan played his last ODI in June 2011 and was dropped thereafter. He has played 229 ODIs and claimed 259 wickets for India.

Top order Robin Uthappa has been recalled. Opener Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were among the seniors who were picked for the squad, besides Rahane and Harbhajan. Pacer Sandeep Sharama and leg-spinner Karn Sharma make their way into the team. Bengal batsman Manoj Tiwary, who was battling injuries for quite some time, was also recalled.

India recently toured Bangladesh for one Test and three ODIs. The lone Test was drawn, primarily because of rain, but India suffered their first ODI series loss to neighbours 1-2.

India go into the Zimbabwe tour with three speciality spinners Harbhajan, Axar and Karn while Dhawal Kulkarni, Stuart Binny, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma make up the pace department.

The BCCI said that team manager Ravi Shastri has opted out of the tour “due to prior engagements”, adding that the team has been selected keeping in mind 2016 World Twenty20.

India squad for Zimbabwe tour:
Ajinkya Rahane (captain), 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.