Patidar, Mukesh get maiden India call-ups for South Africa ODIs

Batter Rajat Patidar and fast bowler Mukesh Kumar have received their maiden India call-ups for the three ODIs against South Africa. Shikhar Dhawan will lead the 16-man squad, while Shreyas Iyer has been named vice captain.
The series gets underway in Lucknow on October 6, the same day that India’s T20 World Cup squad leaves for Australia for a preparatory camp. Barring Shreyas, Ravi Bishnoi and Deepak Chahar, who are part of India’s T20 World Cup campaign as reserves, none of the other players in the World Cup squad are part of the ODI series against South Africa.

Patidar’s selection completes a fairy tale run to the India cap. He has been in top form since the IPL, where he scored 333 runs in eight innings for Royal Challengers Bangalore at an average of 55.50 and a strike rate of 152.75. A month later, in June, he scored a hundred in the Ranji Trophy final, helping underdogs Madhya Pradesh upset Mumbai. Patidar’s golden run continued this month in the A series against New Zealand, where he top scored for India in the red-ball leg of the tour, with 319 runs in four innings including two centuries and a highest score of 176.

Mukesh, on the other hand, comes in with limited List A experience but an impressive first-class record that includes a five-wicket haul on India A debut against New Zealand A. He finished the three-game unofficial Test series as the joint highest wicket-taker with nine wickets, and got his India call-up despite not having played the IPL. Mukesh was Bengal’s joint leading wicket-taker in the 2021-22 Ranji season with 20 wickets and has been among their best bowlers over the last couple of seasons.
The absence of the World Cup-bound Axar Patel and the injured Ravindra Jadeja means another chance for Bengal’s left-arm spinning allrounder Shahbaz Ahmed. He had his first stint with the Indian team on the tour of Zimbabwe in July but did not play a game. Shahbaz, like Patidar, was impressive for RCB since joining them in 2020. Over the past two years, he has also become a vital player for Bengal across formats.

Gill, meanwhile, has an opportunity to further build on his burgeoning white-ball credentials. He has scored three half-centuries and a career-best 130, his maiden international ton, in his last six ODIs for India. Following the Zimbabwe series, Gill signed up with Glamorgan for a short county stint and his most-recent knock was a century against Sussex in a Division Two fixture.

The ODI series is also an opportunity for Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson to put behind them their disappointment of not making the World Cup squad. Only a year ago, Kishan was seen as India’s reserve opener and he even played in the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE, but an underwhelming IPL followed by a series of low scores for India have pushed him back in the pecking order. Samson, meanwhile, is coming off a decent run of form for India A in the series he captained against New Zealand A.

India and South Africa kick off the ODI series in Lucknow on October 6, before playing the second and third matches in Ranchi and Delhi on October 9 and 11.

ODI squad: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubhman Gill, Shreyas Iyer (vc), Rajat Patidar, Rahul Tripathi, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Mohammed Siraj, Deepak Chahar


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