India set to call up uncapped star, opener for T20Is against Ireland

India had two notable absentees in their final squad for the five-match T20I series versus the West Indies, but they could find their calling for the Ireland trip. 

They may have missed out on selection for the five-match series in the Caribbean, but Rinku Singh and Ruturaj Gaikwad are firmly part of India's T20I plans and would be travelling with the team to Ireland for the subsequent assignment, stated a report in the Indian Express.

The two young cricketers, who were expected to make the cut for the West Indies T20Is after terrific performances in the IPL 2023, became instead the squad's surprising omissions, with other young hopefuls jumping over them in the queue. 

However, the selectors are set to make a quick course correction and pick the Rinku-Gaikwad duo for the Irish tour that follows for a three-match T20I series, a BCCI functionary privy to the developments confirmed the news in the Indian Express report after criticism from fans over decision-makers ignoring the promising duo. 

While left-handed Rinku emerged as one of the shining lights for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), especially with his ability to blast opposition attacks at the death, after making 474 runs in 14 innings at a strike-rate of  149.53, Gaikwad, who has been a rising force in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) colours, continued his great ascent with 590 runs at 147.50 in IPL 2023. 

Rinku, Gaikwad to be picked for Ireland series? 

A BCCI source close to the selection matters told Indian Express that candidates who couldn't find the nod from the Ajit Agarkar-led selection panel will be travelling with the side for the Ireland series, paving way for the deserved maiden call-up for Rinku Singh and the return of Ruturaj Gaikwad in the scheme of things. 

The source also confirmed that the big names missing from the T20I contingent for the Caribbean series will also be skipping the Ireland tour as the selectors wish to keep them fresh in a 50-overs World Cup year and build on a transitioning side for the shortest format under Hardik Pandya. 

"Rinku and other players who did well in the IPL will fly to Ireland as the selection committee doesn’t want to try everyone at one stage. There are seven players of the Indian ODI team who are not going to play T20 as those players are key for us going ahead as they will be playing Asia Cup in late August," the BCCI source told Indian Express. 

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Notably, the three-match series versus Ireland spanning August 18-23 begins after only a four days' break from the end of the T20I leg of the West Indies series on August 13. Given the quick turnaround, and in wake of potential inclusions of Gaikwad and Rinku, there is a chance that the selectors might be resting Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan, part of all three formats in the Caribbean, for the Irish sojourn.