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Still no MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya replaces Bhuvneshwar Kumar for South Africa T20Is

Hardik Pandya celebrates after dismissing Shoaib Malik for a duck Getty Images

Hardik Pandya is back in India's 15-man T20I squad, that will play three matches against South Africa starting September 15. His addition, in place of fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, is the only change India have made to the squad that recently beat West Indies 3-0 away.

MS Dhoni missed a second successive T20I series, with reports suggesting he was unavailable for selection, and joining him on the sidelines was Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested from the white-ball leg of the Caribbean tour.

The absence of Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah means India will face South Africa with an inexperienced fast-bowling line-up - Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar and Khaleel Ahmed have played only 11 T20Is between them. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, the frontline white-ball spinners, have been rested too, but the spin department remains well stocked, led by left-arm-spinning allrounders Ravindra Jadeja and Krunal Pandya. Offspinner Washington Sundar and legspinner Rahul Chahar are also in the mix.

Hardik was rested from the tour of the Caribbean from all three formats after a long season that included tours of Australia and New Zealand followed by the Indian Premier League and the World Cup.

Hardik's workload had been a concern for the team ever since he picked up a stress-fracture injury at the Asia Cup last year and the lower-back stiffness that forced him to miss the ODIs against Australia at home in March.

Among the batsmen, Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer keep their spots along with KL Rahul. Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and the captain Virat Kohli complete the squad.