Left-arm spinning all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed has been included in the Indian team for the upcoming three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe as a replacement for the injured Washington Sundar, the BCCI announced on Tuesday.
Sundar has been ruled out of the Zimbabwe series due to a shoulder injury. He sustained the injury to his shoulder when he landed badly on it while representing Lancashire in the Royal London Cup in England.
The all-rounder did not return to the field after suffering the injury and did not play in the subsequent games.
Meanwhile, Shahbaz has been rewarded with a maiden call-up for his wonderful performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. An all-rounder by trait, Ahmed is a left-hand batter and a left-arm orthodox spinner. In the IPL 2022 season, he scored 219 runs in 16 matches and also picked up four wickets.
The 27-year-old, who is uncapped, has played 26 List A matches, scoring 662 runs at an average of 47.28 and picking 24 wickets at an economy rate of 4.43.
On the other hand, it has been a rough 12 months for Sundar with the latest injury piling on the several setbacks he has suffered since the start of the year. The 22-year-old was ruled out of the series against Sri Lanka and West Indies in February due to a hamstring injury. Prior to that, the Covid-19 infection stopped him from travelling to South Africa for the ODI series.
A new-look India will take on Zimbabwe in the three-match series, with the visitors boosted by the return of KL Rahul who is set to captain the side.
Harare Sports Club will be the host for the three ODIs between August 18 to 22 and the series will be played under ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, which will determine the automatic qualifying spots for the World Cup next year.
The Rohit Sharma led India are currently 7th in the standings with 79 points in 12 games while Zimbabwe are a spot off the bottom at 13th with only 35 points from 15 games.
India have already qualified for the World Cup by virtue of being hosts but will be looking to make a climb in the table at the expense of Zimbabwe, who are in desperate need of points to stay in contention for the automatic qualifying spots.
India squad: KL Rahul (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna, Mohd Siraj, Deepak Chahar, Shahbaz Ahmed.