India rest Hardik, replace injured Hooda for SA T20Is; Shahbaz, Shreyas Iyer come in: Reports

As per reports, Hardik Pandya will be rested for India’s upcoming three-match home series against South Africa, beginning Wednesday, September 28.
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Umesh Yadav remains Mohammad Shami’s replacement.

India have made a few major changes to their T20I squad for their upcoming home series against South Africa, beginning Wednesday, September 28. As per reports, Hardik Pandya has been rested, and will be replaced by left-arm spin-bowling all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed.

Hardik scored an unbeaten 25 off 16, including the winning runs, in the third and final T20I against Australia in Hyderabad on Sunday, September 25, helping India seal the series 2-1. That was after the right-hander had struck an unbeaten 71 off 30 in the series opener in Mohali. Shahbaz, meanwhile, had created an impact for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the IPL 2022, with noteworthy contributions in the team's run to the playoffs. He aggregated 219 runs at 27.38 and a strike-rate of 27.38, while dismissing Shubman Gill, Hardik, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Jonny Bairstow in the tournament. He had bagged seven wickets at 13.14, while maintaining an economy of 6.57.

Deepak Hooda too, will miss out, having been ruled out with back spasms, and makes way for Shreyas Iyer. Umesh Yadav, who returned 2/27 from two overs in Mohali - his only outing against Australia - retains his place ahead of Mohammed Shami, who is one of the travelling reserves in India’s T20 World Cup 2022 squad. Meanwhile, young speedster Umran Malik has been overlooked.

The first T20I between India and South Africa will be played at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram. Guwahati will host the second game on Sunday, October 2, followed by the third in Indore on October 4.

The two teams will then contest in a three-match ODI series, with Lucknow, Ranchi and Delhi to host the matches on October 6, 9 and 11 respectively.

India had hosted South Africa for five T20Is in June, and the series ended in a 2-2 draw after the decider in Bangalore was abandoned with rain.

Meanwhile, Hanuma Vihari will lead the Rest of India in the Irani Cup 2022 clash against Saurashtra, to be played in Rajkot from Saturday, October 1.