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Not Rishabh Pant or Ishan Kishan! Sanju Samson and this IPL star to be wicketkeepers for Zimbabwe T20Is: Report

India’s upcoming tour of Zimbabwe in July is all set to witness a significant shift in strategy for the team. With Gautam Gambhir likely to assume the role of head coach of the Indian cricket team, the national selectors are expected to announce the T20 squad for the Zimbabwe tour next week.

It is being said that emerging talents like Abhishek Sharma, Nitish Reddy, and Riyan Parag are likely to be named in the T20I squad, which will boast several fresh faces for the upcoming Zimbabwe tour.

India set to break tradition with fresh-faced T20I squad for Zimbabwe tour

Historically, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has opted to send second-string teams to Zimbabwe over the past decade, but things will be different this time. The new Indian team management under Gambhir would be focusing on building a fresh, dynamic team specifically tailored for T20I cricket.

It is being said that they look beyond the established veterans as they want to prepare a squad suited for the shortest format of the game. Senior stars like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Jasprit Bumrah will be focusing on Test and ODI cricket, with the World Test Championship (WTC) and the ICC Champions Trophy on the horizon next year.

According to the Times of India, sources reveal that Gambhir has strongly advocated for having format-specific teams, eyeing to pick consistent IPL performers for T20Is. Following the Zimbabwe tour, Team India is scheduled to play three ODIs and three T20Is in Sri Lanka. For these fixtures, India is expected to field a full-strength ODI squad.

Furthermore, the India cricket team’s schedule is packed with 19 Test matches, including a home series against Bangladesh and New Zealand, followed by a challenging tour to Australia. So, the team management will carefully consider the workload of key players like Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer.

Sanju Samson and Dhruv Jurel set for wicketkeeping duties on Zimbabwe tour

Pant’s workload will be closely monitored, and he is likely to be rested for the upcoming five-match T20I series in Zimbabwe, while Iyer is likely to feature prominently in ODI cricket. Iyer is likely to be picked for the ODI series against Sri Lanka.

In terms of wicketkeeping duties, Sanju Samson is a strong contender to be picked for the upcoming Zimbabwe tour, with Dhruv Jurel also being considered for the role of the wicketkeeper-batter.

The sources claimed that Samson, who is currently with Team India for the ongoing T20 World Cup 2024, will be picked along with his Rajasthan Royals (RR) teammate Jurel for the upcoming Zimbabwe tour.

A BCCI source told TOI: “Gambhir is very clear in his mind that he will need players specific to each format. When it comes to T20 cricket, he is not one to overlook consistent IPL performers. The seniors in the team will be needed for the longer formats for the rest of the year.”

Notably, Shubman Gill, who was recently released as a reserve from India’s T20 World Cup 2024 squad, has been reportedly dealing with a persistent finger injury. Gill has had an issue with his right index finger throughout the IPL 2024, and NCA’s medical team will soon decide whether surgery is necessary to address this injury.

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