HARARE – The Zimbabwe cricket team will have to take on a second-string India side when the Asian giants visit Harare next month.
India are scheduled to play three ODIs and three Twenty20 matches on their brief tour of the country scheduled to start from June 11 to June 22.
All matches will be at Harare Sports Club.
The Asians yesterday named five uncapped players in their squad for next month’s visit with at least 17 of the players who have been part of the previous limited overs’ squads being either rested or after the IPL season, left out.
The five are Vidarbha batsman Faiz Fazal, spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Jayant Yadav and batsmen Karun Nair and Mandeep Singh.
Although wicketkeeper/batsman KL Rahul has five Test caps to his name, the Royal Challengers Bangalore cricketer has not yet represented India in limited overs.
Captain and wicketkeeper MS Dhoni will lead the depleted Indian side for the series after missing his team’s previous tour of Zimbabwe last year.
In his absence, Ajinka Rayane led the India side which won the ODI series 3-0 before drawing the T20 series 1-1.
Dhoni, with 275 ODIs and 68 T20Is, has more experience than the other 15 players combined -83 ODIs and 28 T20Is.
“Dhoni has retired from the longer format and we selectors felt that this is the best opportunity for youngsters to have someone like Dhoni, who has ample experience’’, the BCCI chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil told ESPNcricinfo.
“Dhoni himself was very keen to tour with the youngsters so I think it is a very good sign and a good help for the youngsters, who are going to be part of the Zimbabwe tour.”
Some of the big names which will be missing from the India squad are batsmen Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahane and all-rounder Rohit Sharma.
Prominent bowlers Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, Hardik Pandya and Gurkeerat Singh have all been left behind.
Most of those left behind for the Zimbabwe tour have been included in the India squad for the tour to the West Indies for a Test series in July-August.
Zimbabwe are expected back in camp tomorrow having taken a mini-break on Friday and are buoyed by possible returns of injured players in all-rounder Luke Jongwe, vice-captain and leg-spinner Graeme Cremer, seamer Tinashe Panyangara and batsman Chamu Chibhabha who was hit during a net practice recently.
Captain Hamilton Masakadza and Sean Williams are also expected to join the training squad following their participation in the Dhaka Premier League in Bangladesh.
Zimbabwe practice squad: Ryan Burl, Regis Chakabva, Brian Chari, Tendai Chatara, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Graeme Cremer, Craig Ervine, Trevor Garwe, Luke Jongwe, Neville Madziva, Timycen Maruma, Wellington Masakadza, Shingirai Masakadza, Prince Masvaure, PJ Moor, Tapiwa Mufudza, Natsai M’shangwe, Kudakwashe Munyede, Tawanda Mupariwa, Tarisai Musakanda, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Richmond Mutumbami, Taurai Muzarabani, Victor Nyauchi, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Donald Tiripano and Malcolm Waller.
India ODI and T20 squad: MS Dhoni (capt/wk), KL Rahul, Faiz Fazal, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Ambati Rayudu, Rishi Dhawan, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Barinder Sran, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal