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Why India didn’t pick Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rinku Singh, and Jitesh Sharma for the T20I team that will play the West Indies

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After the World Cup last year, Hardik Pandya became the unofficial captain, and the transition for the Indian T20I team had already started. Since India lost in the semi-finals in Australia, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Mohammed Shami have not played in a T20I yet. The main goal has been to put together a T20-only team for the World Cup next year. And by giving Yashasvi Jaiswal and Tilak Varma their first calls-ups for the tour of the West Indies, the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee has taken a huge step toward that goal.

The 15-person T20I team that India chose for the five-match T20I series was mostly what was expected. By now, it’s pretty clear that Rohit and Kohli are no longer playing in T20Is. After Rahul Tripathi and Deepak Hooda missed their chances and had poor IPL 2023 seasons, Jaiswal’s chances were always going to be high.

Why wasn’t Rinku Singh put on the India team for the T20Is against the West Indies?
Choosing between Tilak Varma and Rinku Singh was hard. Both play similar roles for their IPL teams, the Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders, and have done mind-blowing things in the last season. Since finishers Axar Patel and Hardik Pandya were already on the team, the officials chose Tilak Varma because he could score runs in the top four.

One could say that Sanju Samson could have easily batted third, followed by Suryakumar Yadav at four and Hardik Pandya at five. This would have left the No. 6 spot open for someone like Rinku Singh to come in and do his job. But it would be unfair to Tilak to say that he won’t be able to do the same job. Even so, Rinku is almost done waiting for what is rightfully his.

According to a PTI report, there is only a week between the series against the West Indies and the T20Is against Ireland, so it is likely that Rinku will be in that team. Also, the BCCI will have to decide whether India will go to the Asian Games or not. There have been rumors that the board might send a second-string team to China. This could give someone like Rinku another chance.

Why wasn’t Ruturaj Gaikwad put on India’s T20I team for their tour of the West Indies?
Ruturaj Gaikwad not being on the T20I team was a bigger surprise. The right-handed batsman from Maharashtra has been in the T20 setup for the last couple of years. He was the second-highest run scorer for the IPL 2023 winners, Chennai Super Kings. This could be because of one of two things. First of all, once Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, and Ishan Kishan were chosen as openers, there was no room in the team for a fourth starter. The second reason is a lot like what Rinku said. Ruturaj is on the West Indies’ Test and ODI teams, so he could be considered for the trip to Ireland and the Asian Games.

How did it turn out that Jitesh Sharma didn’t get to play his first game for India?
Jitesh Sharma of Vidarbha was also unlucky not to make the team. He was on the India T20I team for the home series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand, but he didn’t get to play any games. In the last two IPL seasons, he has been in great shape for the Punjab Kings. As a wicketkeeper and a finisher, Jitesh is the perfect player for India in T20Is. So why was he left off the team for the match against the West Indies? The reason is pretty simple: Jitesh was called up by India because Sanju Samson got hurt. Once Samson was healthy again, there was no way the coaches would put him ahead of the Rajasthan Royals captain, especially since Ishan Kishan was already there as a backup keeper.

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