Veteran India star to miss 1st T20I against Afghanistan

The news was confirmed by head coach Rahul Dravid during the pre-match press conference.
Rohit Sharma - Virat Kohli?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4

In a recent development coming in from the Indian camp, a veteran player will miss India’s first T20I against Afghanistan on Thursday (January 11) due to personal reasons. The news was confirmed by head coach Rahul Dravid during the pre-match press conference. The India star has not travelled to Mohali with the team India.

Dravid, however, confirmed that Virat Kohli will be available for selection for the second and third T20I.

Last week, the national selection committee named Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the squad for the three-match series against Afghanistan. There was a lot of hype around their return as the veterans last played for India in the T20 World Cup 2021 where India lost to England in the semifinal.

The players' T20I career were all but over as both seniors were set to let go off the white-ball formats to prolong Test career.

Rahul Dravid highlights the roadmap for T20 WC squad selection

With India falling short in their bid to clinch the ODI World Cup, the team management has reintegrated senior players, aiming to break India's ICC trophy drought.

Rohit, too, wasn’t present during the training session on the eve of the game Dravid confirmed that for now, the team management will stick to the combination of Rohit and Yashasvi Jaiswal as openers.

“We're certainly opening with Rohit and Jaiswal. When you have such a squad, you have the flexibility to do what is in the best interest of the team. Nothing is closed but we're happy with what Jaiswal has done as an opener for us. He gives us a left-hand combination as well at the top,” said Dravid.

The upcoming T20I series against Afghanistan stands as the last opportunity for India to fine-tune their strategy before the T20 World Cup.

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Nevertheless, Coach Rahul Dravid clarified that the selection of India's World Cup squad will not solely hinge on the T20I series against Afghanistan. He emphasized that the IPL would provide a platform for players to stake their claim for inclusion in the World Cup squad based on their performances.

The head coach also cleared the air on Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer and Ravindra Jadeja, stating the reasons for the absence of the three players.

"Bumrah, Jadeja and Siraj have missed out keeping in mind that there are 5 Test matches against England next," Dravid said, adding that Iyer was dropped due to the amount of batters available.

"Certainly, in Shreyas Iyer's case, there is absolutely no disciplinary reason for his non-inclusion. It's just that he missed out. There were a lot of batters in the team. Shreyas missed out, he didn't play the T20Is in South Africa if you noticed. They are a lot of batters and it's not easy to fit everyone," he said.

Kishan, meanwhile, was speculated to have been dropped for disciplinary reasons, but Dravid countered this, insisting that the wicketkeeper batter has not made himself available for selection yet after requesting a break during the South Africa series.

"No absolutely not (disciplinary issue). Ishan Kishan was not available for selection. Ishan requested for a break, which we agreed in South Africa. We supported it. He has not yet made himself available. I don't think he has made himself available as yet. When he is available, he will play domestic cricket and make himself available for selection," Dravid told the reporters in the pre-series press conference.

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