Rasool, Mohit get maiden call-ups; Kohli to lead
Offspinner Parvez Rasool has become the first cricketer from Jammu & Kashmir to earn a national call-up. He is part of the ODI squad to tour Zimbabwe, which will be led by Virat Kohli in the absence of the injured MS Dhoni.
Apart from Dhoni four others were rested, which resulted in a maiden call-up for Haryana and Chennai Super Kings seamer Mohit Sharma. Cheteshwar Pujara, who has played 13 Tests already, was in line for an ODI debut after being recalled to the limited-overs side. Medium-pacer Jaydev Unadkat, who has played one Test, was also back in the ODI squad, as was Ajinkya Rahane.
Among those rested were R Ashwin (playing non-stop since the start of India's home season last August), Ishant Sharma (non-stop since Zaheer Khan was dropped during the England series), Umesh Yadav (came back from an injury during the IPL) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (non-stop since Pakistan came to India in December). M Vijay, though, was dropped from the squad for the five ODI matches scheduled between July 24 and August 3.
There was no place for the dropped seniors - Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer - in either the ODI side or the A team that will tour South Africa. Vijay, however, has been named in the A squad. His ODI comeback might have been terminated based on just one innings - and Pujara's return to fitness - but his A team selection is a show of faith in him for the longer formats after he struck two 150s in his comeback Test series against Australia.
A sign of how inexperienced the ODI team is, and how seriously the selectors are taking the A tour, is that 10 of the India players in Zimbabwe will be part of the A tour. The A team will be captained by Pujara, and includes the top-two wicket-getters in the 2012-13 Ranji season: quicks Ishwar Pandey and Siddarth Kaul. Wriddhiman Saha joined Dinesh Karthik as the wicketkeeper, and Karnataka allrounder Stuart Binny was also picked.
Shahbaz Nadeem, who was the leading spinner in the Ranji season, has also been picked to partner Rasool in the A team's tri-series against Australia A and South Africa A, and two four-day games against South Africa A.
Rasool, who made his first-class debut for J&K in the 2008-09 season, has played 17 first-class matches, scoring 1003 runs and taking 46 wickets. He was named in the India A squad for a tour game against Australia in February this year, and also played his first IPL season for Pune Warriors.
The other newcomer, Mohit, has played 11 first-class matches for 44 wickets over two seasons, and had an impressive season for Super Kings in IPL 2013. He picked up 20 wickets in 15 matches to emerge as one of the leading uncapped players of the tournament.
India squad: Virat Kohli (capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Cheteshwar Pujara, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Parvez Rasool, Shami Ahmed, R Vinay Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohit Sharma.
India A squad: Cheteshwar Pujara (capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, M Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Parvez Rasool, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shami Ahmed, Stuart Binny, Ishwar Pandey, Jaydev Unadkat, Siddarth Kaul