Suryakumar, Hardik Ruled Out of Afghanistan T20Is

365200.6

Ruturaj Gaikwad is also unavailable due to his finger injury.

Vishal Singh Jan. 7, 2024

Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya will not be part of India's squad for the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan at home starting January 11. Ruturaj Gaikwad is also out due to a finger injury and is likely to miss the first half of the England Test series as well.

The Afghanistan T20I squad will be selected on Sunday evening. There is still no confirmation that Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will be there. Both Rohit and Kohli have not played a T20I since the 2022 T20 World Cup, when India lost to England in the semi-finals.

ESPNcricinfo has learned that both Suryakumar and Hardik are expected to make a comeback from the IPL. Suryakumar, who led India in a T20I in South Africa in December, injured his ankle while playing in the third and final match in Johannesburg. He recently underwent surgery on his ankle and plans to return to training within the next few months.

either-ruturaj-or-suryakumar-may-lead-india-in-australia-t20is-2023-11-bbe9aa7fff4ca6b52fbc335f8b455e49

The Afghanistan series is India's last bilateral T20I match before his T20 World Cup which starts on June 1 immediately after IPL. Ideally, the selection committee would select all 15 first-choice players, including Hardik, who withdrew from the ODI World Cup after limping with a torn ligament in the league match against Bangladesh in Pune in November and would have hoped to be included in the selection process.

While the BCCI medical staff at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) had predicted a quick recovery, Hardik continues to be carrying on his rehab. It is learned that while the Indian all-rounder continues to work on his strength and conditioning, he has not reached optimal fitness. As a precautionary measure, the medical team has advised Hardik should continue to monitor his workload.

If he was fit for the Afghanistan series, one significant question for the selectors would have been if to consider him as captain. After the 2022 T20 World Cup, Hardik was projected to replace Rohit as the captain in the shortest format.