Hardik named captain for Ireland T20Is; Tripathi gets maiden call-up

UKRAJKOT: Eight months can be a long time in cricket. From a point where he was dropped from Team India after enduring an ordinary time in the T20 World Cup in the UAE last October-November, Hardik Pandya on Wednesday reached another high point in his fairytale comeback when he was named as the captain of the Indian team for the two T20Is against Ireland later this month.

Seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been named as his deputy. Team India will play two T20Is on June 26 and June 28 in Dublin. Batting legend and current National Cricket Academy chairman VVS Laxman will be the head coach of the side during the two-match tour. NCA coaches Sitanshu Kotak, Sairaj Bahutule and Munish Bali will also accompany Laxman.

In another significant development, Rahul Tripathi, who impressed while scoring 413 runs in 14 games@37.54, at a strike rate of 158.23, with three fifties in IPL 2022 for Sunrisers Hyderabad, earned his maiden India call-up. The 31-year-old, who plays for Maharashtra, has done consistently well in the past few IPL seasons. The selectors’ decision is a just reward for Pandya, who led Gujarat Titans to the IPL title this season. He also scored 487 runs in 15 games @ 44.27 and picked up 8 wickets (ER 7.27).

Other captaincy candidates aren’t available for the short tour. KL Rahul has failed to recover from his groin injury and will thus miss out on both the Ireland and England tours, while Rishabh Pant will travel to England after the SA series.

Rohit, Kohli and rest fly for EnglandMeanwhile, all-format skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and pacer Jasprit Bumrah boarded the flight for London, for the tour of England in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Among other India players who were on that plane to London were off-spinner R Ashwin, allrounder Ravindra Jadeja, pacers Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Prasidh Krishna, batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari and wicketkeeper KS Bharat.

India head coach Rahul Dravid will join the Indian team in England after the conclusion of the T20I series against South Africa on Sunday. India will play England in one Test (the fifth Test of a series carried over from last year) from July 1-5 at Edgbaston, and then three ODIs and as many T20Is.

India’s T20I squad for Ireland:

Hardik Pandya (captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (vice-captain), Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik