Deepak Hooda to miss India-South Africa T20Is; Iyer, Shahbaz added
India's batting all-rounder Deepak Hooda will miss the upcoming T20I series against South Africa, starting September 28. Hooda, who is suffering from a back injury, has traveled to Bengaluru for further rehab at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). T20I ace Shreyas Iyer replaces him for this series. Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed has found a calling as a replacement for Hardik Pandya. Here's more.
Hooda's injury is a concern for Team India
Hooda didn't feature in any of the concluded three-match T20I series against Australia. As per the reports, the extent of his injury is still unknown. However, it remains a concern as he's a part of the India squad for T20 World Cup, commencing October 16. Iyer, who lately slammed 37 and 71 in the Duleep Trophy finale against South Zone, will replace the former.
In-form Shahbaz replaces Hardik for SA T20Is
As for Shahbaz, his addition is on the lines of Hardik's unavailability for the SA series as he will undergo conditioning during the course of the series. Hardik will be joined by T20I specialist Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Notably, Shahbaz had picked a five-fer in the Duleep Trophy quarter-final against North Zone, besides scoring a crunch 62 in the first innings.
Shami still sidelined for SA series
Indian seamer Mohammed Shami contracted the COVID-19 virus ahead of Australia encounters and hasn't recovered since. He continues to remain on the sidelines. Shami, who can swing the ball either ways, recorded commendable numbers in IPL 2022. As per ESPNcricinfo, he pocketed 11 scalps in PP overs and bowled the second-most dot balls in this interval (140), ranking behind Trent Boult (146).
Samson fails to make the cut
Sanju Samson had a commanding season with the willow in IPL 2022. The stylish batter amassed 458 runs, striking in excess of 145. He fared well in Ireland (42-ball 77) and West Indies (30* and 15). The right-hander still couldn't find a calling for Australia and SA series. In fact, he wasn't even considered as a replacement for Hooda in the mix.
India enjoy a slender lead over SA (T20Is)
India own an 11-8 win-loss record in T20Is against the Proteas. Interestingly, the Men in Blue are yet to win a series versus SA at home. The hosts suffered a 2-0 defeat in 2015, followed by a series draw in 2019 (1-1) and 2022 (2-2).
India's updated squad for South Africa T20Is
India's squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shahbaz Ahmed, Arshdeep Singh.
Skipper Rohit leads the scoring charts against SA
Rohit Sharma is the highest run-getter in India-SA T20I duels. The prolific batter has amassed 362 runs at 32.90, including a hundred and two fifties. Suresh Raina (339), JP Duminy (295), and Kohli (254) follow suit. Meanwhile, wicket-keeper batter Ishan Kishan has thumped the most runs in a series (206 runs at 41.20). Shikhar Dhawan (143) and Quinton de Kock (131) trail him.
Bhuvneshwar has been a nuisance for SA
As stated, Bhuvneshwar won't feature in the SA T20Is. Despite that, he remains the highest wicket-taker in India-SA encounters. The T20 specialist has clipped 14 scalps at 17.00. He was adjudged Player of the Series in June. Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal have pocketed seven scalps each. Also, Bhuvneshwar is the joint-highest wicket-taker in a series alongside Harshal (7).