Virat Kohli rested for Sri Lanka T20s
Batsman Virat Kohli has been rested for the three T20 internationals against Sri Lanka in February ahead of the Asia Cup later in the month. Delhi left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, who used to play for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, received his first call up to the India side.
Swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who missed the recent three-match T20I series against Australia due to a fractured thumb, has also been named in the squad along with middle-order batsman Manish Pandey.
Kohli was the highest run-getter in the T20I series in Australia that India swept 3-0 on Sunday, tallying 199 runs in three matches with a half-century in each game. In the preceding ODI series, Kohli had struck two centuries and two fifties, scoring 381 runs in five matches at an average of 76.20.
From the T20 squad that played in Australia, Rishi Dhawan, Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Umesh Yadav missed out on selection for the Sri Lanka series, which starts on February 9 in Pune. Rishi and Gurkeerat had been called to Australia as cover for Bhuvneshwar and Ajinkya Rahane, who had both picked up injuries during the ODIs.
Negi, who is a useful hitter lower down the order, struck 173 runs for Delhi in nine matches of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy in January, and claimed six wickets at an average of 33.66. Negi also played for the Delhi Daredevils franchise between 2012 and 2013, before he was signed by Chennai Super Kings in the 2014 IPL auction. In 14 matches for Super Kings, across the IPL and the Champions League T20, Negi took 13 wickets at an average of 29. His overall T20 record stands at 46 wickets from 56 T20 games with an economy rate of 7.42 and 479 runs with the bat.
The three-match T20I series will be played in Pune, Ranchi and Visakhapatnam on February 9, 12 and 14 respectively. Delhi was earlier scheduled to host the second T20, but the match was moved out after the Delhi & District Cricket Association informed the BCCI that it would not be able to host the game.