Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh received their first call-ups for the recently concluded home series against South Africa, while old-horse Dinesh Karthik and injury-ravaged Hardik Pandya also returned to the Twenty20 fold. However, Shikhar Dhawan was one of the notable omissions from the Proteas' five-game tour, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
Dhawan, 36, had another successful season in the Indian Premier League (IPL), scoring 460 runs in 14 games for Punjab Kings. Last season, he had 587, and the year before, he had 618.
Dhawan did not make the final T20 World Cup squad despite being among the runs and leading India on a tour of Sri Lanka last year. It's no secret that each spot on the national team is fiercely contested. Dhawan has a few IPL runs under his belt, but does that mean he'll be back in the T20 squad?
Legendary Sunil Gavaskar had a blunt response to whether Dhawan ends up getting the nod for the T20 showpiece event in Australia. Since his debut in 2010, the left-handed opener has played 34 Tests, 149 ODIs and 68 T20s for India. He has also got seven consecutive IPL seasons with 400-plus runs.
"No. I don't see his name popping up. If it had to pop up, it would have been in this squad. A lot of guys have gone to England and he could have been in this squad. If he is not in this squad, I don't see him ending in the mix (for T20 World Cup)," Gavaskar said in an interaction on Star Sports during the game.
In addition, Gavaskar chose Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul as India's two openers for the T20 tournament. While all-format skipper Rohit Sharma took a break after the IPL, Rahul was set to play in the South Africa T20s until a groyne injury forced him to withdraw.
"My opening combination would have KL Rahul if he's fit and Rohit Sharma alongside him," adding the batting great.
"I will go with Sunny. They are outstanding players. Rahul and Rohit have done the business consistently and they are outstanding at the top of the order for India," agreed Smith.