Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer and Hyderabad pace bowler Mohammed Siraj have been named in India's squad for the three T20 internationals against New Zealand, which start from November 1. Ashish Nehra has been picked only for the first T20I, which is slated to be his last match.
"Shreyas Iyer has been prolific in all forms of the game, be it day's format, be it one-day or T20 or IPL, you name anything he has been performing," MSK Prasad, India's chairman of selectors, said in Mumbai on Monday. "We will sit with this policy that if we pick a player, we will give him an extended rope, and we will continue with him and nurture him and see that he goes on to become successful. So is [the case] with Siraj. He is doing well, he has been duly recognised and rewarded as well."
Iyer has put in consistent performances for India A over the last few months. He was the third-highest run-getter in the tri-series against South Africa A and Afghanistan A, with 213 runs in five matches. That tally included an unbeaten 140 off 131 runs in the tri-series final, which helped India A clinch the series. In the recent series against New Zealand A, he struck three fifty-plus scores in four innings, including one century.
Siraj, 23, shot into prominence during the 2016-17 domestic season, ending as the third-highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy. His 41 wickets helped Hyderabad qualify for the Ranji Trophy knockouts and also earned him attention at the IPL 2017 auction, where he was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 2.6 crore, from a base price of INR 20 lakh. In his maiden IPL season, Siraj picked up ten wickets in six matches, including a haul of 4 for 32 against Gujarat Lions.
Regarding Nehra's selection, Prasad said that the bowler's selection in the XI for the first match was up to the team management and stated that Nehra had not asked for a farewell match. The veteran fast bowler had announced his retirement from all forms of cricket earlier this month, and implied that the first match against New Zealand at his home ground, Feroz Shah Kotla, would be his last. Nehra was part of the T20I squad for the Australia series but did not play a game.
"We can't say that [if he will surely play in the Delhi T20I]," Prasad clarified. "Whether he is going to play or not, it is clearly the team management and the selector on call, whoever it is. The think tank involved will be taking a call. There is no assurance from our side that he's going to play or not. It will be decided on that particular day.
"We have clearly communicated to the player, i.e Ashish Nehra and to the team management that we are only looking at him till the New Zealand series. If you have seen the pattern with which we have selected the India A players, the same bowlers we have been continuing with for the last one and a half years on all A trips, that means they are very much in line. They have really done well in South Africa, also at home against New Zealand. This message has been clearly communicated and we are very happy that the player also needs to take it in the right spirit that the new generation is coming up. Instead of waiting till the end of the New Zealand series, he felt that Delhi game itself he'll quit."
Vishal Dikshit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo