Ganguly surprised as selectors pick Rayudu ahead of Rahane for England ODIs

R Ashwin

R Ashwin

The 26-year-old - who scored an epic unbeaten triple hundred (303 n.o) against England in December 2016 - has been drafted in as the sixth specialist batsmen in the Ajinkya Rahane-led India team.

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Rahane's ouster from ODIs is surprising considering Indian skipper Virat Kohli, during India's tour to South Africa earlier this year, said that Rahane was a strong contender for the number four position for the Men in Blue. Afghanistan have never played Test cricket, and even without Kohli, they are unlikely to beat India. Interestingly, Surrey had officially announced that Kohli will be available for the entire month of June, but the two T20 Internationals are scheduled on June 27 and 29. That match is scheduled to be played from 25 to 28 June. "I would like to see him fly back and play the Test, a bit of gap in the schedule which can allow him to do that", Clarke added. Kohli insisted that this was not the case, and the only admission that they might have done things differently came from Ravi Shastri, the coach, in the second half of the Test series.

"It's a great opportunity for us to win the series".

Afghanistan got their Test status in June 2017 when they were made full members by the ICC along with Ireland. It was arguably Rohit's selection in the Tests in South Africa that got him an A+ contract in the first place.




The date for the Afghanistan Test was announced well in advance and Kohli could've still enjoyed a county stint, either by skipping a part of the IPL, something the Royal Challengers Bangalore would've taken a dim view of, or by interrupting his county experience to return to India for a week. Pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have been rested as they are expected to shoulder the workload during the limited overs leg in United Kingdom before the big-ticket Test series in August.

Kohli will miss the Afghanistan Test while he turns out for Surrey in the English County Championship as preparation for India's long tour later this year, a decision that has Prasad's endorsement.

Ishant Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara, who are presently playing country cricket for Sussex and Yorkshire, will play the Bengaluru Test.

There had been reports Ashwin and Jadeja might both be rested but it emerged a day before the selection that Ashwin had not pursued his talks with Worcestershire because he had committed to playing this Test.

In the absence of Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah, Ishant along with Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Shami were the pacemen selected with allrounder Hardik Pandya providing seam-bowling cover. A surprise pick has been off-spinner Washington Sundar who has replaced Axar Patel in the squad, while the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Dinesh Karthik have retained their place.

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