India’s in-form vice-captain Virat Kohli was today rested from the upcoming Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka as selectors included all-rounder Pawan Negi in the 15-member squad for the three-match rubber, beginning February 9.
Kohli was in supreme form in the just-concluded T20 series in Australia, where he scored 199 runs at an average of 199 with three half-centuries.
The world number one in ICC T20 rankings, Kohli has played 10 one-dayers and five T20s apart from four Test matches from the month of October to end of January.
The swashbuckling right-hander’s break seems to have been timed to keep him fresh for the World T20 coming up next month in India.
Taking his place in the side for the short series is Negi, a rookie all-rounder Negi, who has played under Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the Chennai Super Kings in IPL.
His reasonably successful performances in the Mushtaq Ali and Deodhar Trophy events has earned him a spot as a cover for Ravindra Jadeja.
Manish Pandey has also been rewarded for his match-winning century in the Sydney ODI against Australia and has found a place in the squad announced by BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur in a press release.
The selection panel chose to drop Rishi Dhawan, Gurkeerat Mann and Umesh Yadav from the squad. All three had struggled during the tour of Australia, failing to produce any notable performance.
Making a comeback was paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had missed the T20 series after injuring himself during the ODIs.
The series will begin in Pune (February 9) followed by matches in Ranchi (February 12) and Visakhapatnam (February 14).
Squad: MS Dhoni (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pawan Negi.