NEW DELHI -- Ajinkya Madhukar Rahane, the 27-year-old right-handed batsman, will lead Team India next week in the short Zimbabwe tour while veterans like MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina will get time off to rest.
The 15-member lineup for the Zimbabwe tour will see Rahane as captain, while off-spinner Harbhajan Singh will make a comeback to the ODI squad for the series, announced BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur and chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil on Monday. Others selected for the Zimbabwe tour include opener Murali Vijay; middle order batsmen Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, and Manish Pandey; spinners Karn Sharma and Axar Patel; pacemen Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Stuart Binny, and Robin Uthappa, as well as Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Sharma.
Singh would be making a comeback to the ODI squad after a gap of four years. So will batsman Robin Uthappa, who played in a couple of one-day matches against Sri Lanka last year in November.
"We cannot say on long term basis but looking at Harbhajan's performance in the last series, we feel that he deserves a chance on this tour," Patil said about Harbhajan, who returned to the Test side in the tour of Bangladesh.
Acknowledging India's stunning defeat to Bangladesh earlier this month, the selectors said they were now looking ahead to plan next year's T20 World Cup.
"The Indian team did not do well in Bangladesh, we felt the same. (But) we have to move forward and considering the domestic cricket to be played, we have picked this side, looking at the 2016 T20 World Cup," Chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil told reporters.
"We had picked the best possible team that played at the World Cup and keeping the future series in mind, whether it is Sri Lanka, or South Africa home series, Twenty20 World Cup or the Australia series, we have decided to rest a few players, who need urgent rest," he said.