Sundar, Hooda earn maiden call-ups for Sri Lanka T20Is


Washington Sundar, Basil Thampi, Deepak Hooda and Jayadev Unadkat were the new faces in the India squad for the three T20Is against Sri Lanka starting December 20 in Cuttack. Senior cricketers including captain Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were rested keeping in mind the full tour of South Africa that immediately follows this series.

Rohit Sharma, who was named the captain of the team for the three ODIs that precede the T20I series was also given the responsibility to lead the side in the shortest format. KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer have retained their places in the squad. All four had played the T20I series against New Zealand in October.

Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, India's preferred spin-bowling options in the limited-overs formats have been trusted with the roles of the lead spinners while Jasprit Bumrah, who earned his maiden Test call-up for the tour of South Africa, will spearhead the fast bowling attack and would be assisted by Siraj, Unadkat, and Thampi.

While Undakat and Thampi had good IPL seasons to warrant their selection, Sundar's name had been in contention for the limited-overs series against Australia earlier this year. The 18-year-old all-rounder from Tamil Nadu had failed the yo-yo test back then and hence could not make the cut. Having passed the minimum criteria of 16:1 this time, Sundar has earned a call-up that could have come much earlier.

Unadkat was the second-highest wicket taker in IPL 2017, picking up 24 wickets from 12 matches at 13.41 while Thampi picked up 11 wickets at 24.36 from as many IPL games last season. Thampi has been noted for his death-bowling credentials and is said to possess a good yorker.

While Hooda did not have a very good IPL season in 2017 - scoring just 78 runs from 10 games - a strike rate of 140 in the league adds merit to his place in the team keeping in mind the need for pinch hitters in the shortest format of the game, especially the ones who can score from ball one.

Sundar, in his short first-class career, has picked up 30 wickets at 26.93 and has scored 573 runs at 31.29 with one century. He was also a part of the India U-19 team that played the ICC U-19 World Cup in 2016.

The squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Shreyas Iyer, Mohammad Siraj, Jayadev Unadkat, Basil Thampi, Deepak Hooda, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Washington Sundar.

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