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India announce squad for T20 series against South Africa

28 Jan 2018 | By Rodney Dsouza
India vs South Africa T20I series

India have named a 16-member squad for the upcoming T20 series against South Africa.

The biggest surprise was the inclusion of Suresh Raina, who makes his much-awaited comeback.

Ajinkya Rahane's exile from T20 cricket continues. Rahane has been ignored, yet again, for the three-match T20 series against South Africa. The series would begin from 18th of February.

Here's all about it!

In context: India vs South Africa T20I series

28 Jan 2018India announce squad for T20 series against South Africa

India's squad for South Africa T20I series

Virat Kohli (captain) Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Jaydev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur.
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Raina storms his way back into India T20I squad

DeterminationRaina storms his way back into India T20I squad

Suresh Raina, who has been out of the Indian squad for a while now, finally cleared his Yo-Yo endurance test in December at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.

Hence, Raina was finally considered for a spot in the series.

Raina's 49 ball century in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy has also helped his cause.

Sticking to basicsDomestic cricket has helped Suresh Raina

The southpaw, who was a crucial member of the Indian playing XI, has been given limited chances since 2016.

Despite failing the Yo-Yo test a couple of times, Raina stuck to the grind and played a lot of domestic cricket.

Raina last played a T20 for India in February 2017, where he scored a 57-ball 63 against England.

Red-hotRaina rewarded for performances in Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy

Raina's unbeaten 126 against Bengal, and scores of 61 and 56 in the next two games in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, is the reason that the selectors have rewarded the big-hitter.

The Uttar Pradesh batsman has played 65 T20 internationals, while scoring 1,307 runs at an average of 29.70 and he has also picked up 12 wickets .

Rise & riseUnadkat is the man in demand

Pacer Jaydev Unadkat has also been called up for the series after putting in a brilliant performance against Sri Lanka, last year.

Unadkat is rising to prominence and was also sold at Rs. 11.5 crore to Rajasthan Royals at the IPL auctions.

India will play three T20Is against the Proteas on February 18th in Johannesburg, 21st in Centurion and 24th in Cape Town.