NEW DELHI: India are resting batting mainstay Virat Kohli for the three 20-over matches against Sri Lanka this month with an eye on the Twenty20 World Cup on home soil.
Kohli, the world’s top-ranked Twenty20 batsman, enjoyed a prolific run of form to help India complete a 3-0 series whitewash in Australia on Sunday.
With Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men kicking off their bid for a second Twenty20 World Cup in six weeks, the team have decided to rest Kohli who was top-scorer in the series in Australia.
India recalled Bhuvneshwar Kumar after the paceman sustained a thumb injury in Australia and missed the Twenty20 series.
Left-arm spinner Pawan Negi received his first call-up to the India squad who play Sri Lanka in the first Twenty20 International in Pune on Feb. 9.
Ranchi and Visakhapatnam host the other matches.
India (squad): Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Pawan Negi.