(Image source from: AP)
India's T20I team has welcomed back Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli after over a year of absence from the shortest format. The duo's last appearance for the Men in Blue in a T20I match was during the World Cup semi-final loss to England in November 2022. Since then, they have not been selected for the T20 format. However, Rohit Sharma will lead the team against Afghanistan, as Hardik Pandya, who was expected to take over the captaincy, remains sidelined due to injury. Meanwhile, Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah, who performed exceptionally well in the series against South Africa, have been given a break for this series as India explores other options ahead of the T20 World Cup, which is less than five months away. Unfortunately, Suryakumar Yadav will not be part of the series as he continues to recover from an ankle injury he sustained during the third T20I against South Africa in December.
On January 14, the third match is set to take place at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. These three T20Is will mark the conclusion of India's T20I matches before the T20 World Cup, which is slated to occur in the West Indies and the United States of America from June 1-29. After the Men in Blue's second-place finish at the ODI World Cup in November, they emerged victorious with a 4-1 win against Australia in a home T20I series. They later faced South Africa on their home ground, resulting in a tied score of 1-1.
Here is the complete Indian squad: Rohit Sharma (C), S Gill, Y Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dube, W Sundar, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar