Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul have been recalled to India's 15-member squad for the upcoming five-match ODI series against Australia. Dinesh Karthik, on the
other hand, has been axed from the squad for the series, which will be India's last 50-over assignment before the 2019 World Cup.

"We have included him [Pant] considering the fact that he is a left-hander and we are going to discuss with the team management. We will try and figure the best possible batting position for Pant. With a left-hander in the side, there is an advantage of left-right combination," MSK Prasad, India's chairman of selectors, said. "We want to give Pant a few ODIs before taking a final call on World Cup."

Ravindra Jadeja, Khaleel Ahmed, Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj - all of whom were part of the squad in the recent tour of New Zealand, have also been left out. Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been rested for the first two games of the series.

"Siddarth Kaul has been doing very well in whatever opportunities has been given and also at India A level," he said. "Khaleel has been playing for the last two series and we have seen him. We would like to see Siddarth Kaul also. We have shortlisted about 18 players and we are going to rotate among them."

India's squad for 1st and 2nd ODI against Australia: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Siddharth Kaul, KL Rahul

Karthik's exclusion is noteworthy given India had groomed him to play the finisher's role. The 33-year-old registered scores of 38* (38), 25* (14), 12 (21) and 0(1) in the limited opportunities he got with the bat in the last two series - in Australia and New Zealand. Apart from averaging 75, he struck at over run a ball and helped India see off the target in two chases.

Pant, on the other hand, hasn't had the same impact as yet in his brief three-match ODI career so far, totalling 41 runs. However, a breakthrough 2018 in Test cricket - which included centuries in England and Australia - has propelled his case, besides his reasonably good show in the New Zealand T20Is.

Meanwhile, since making his debut last year, Khaleel has picked up 11 wickets in 9 matches at an economy rate of 5.36. His variation as a left-arm pacer proved to his biggest asset. However, his inability to seal a spot in the limited chances to go with Mohammed Shami's impressive showing in New Zealand has edged him out from the third pacer's slot.

With Bumrah returning after sitting out the limited-overs assignment in Australia and New Zealand, India's pace attack is almost near full strength. Bhuvneshwar will join the squad from the third ODI onwards with Sidharth Kaul filling in as a fast-bowling alternative for the first two games.

Jadeja's axing means India have only two frontline spinners in the squad - Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the squad. Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar and Hardik Pandya will add to the balance of the side with their all-round abilities.

"Shankar's performance in the recent series really changed a bit of dynamics and he brings a double impact to the side that's why have we have included him. We'll see how he performs in the next few matches," he added.

India's squad for remaining three ODIs: Virat Kohli (Capt), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant

Mayank Markande gets maiden T20I call-up

Bhuvneshwar and Kuldeep Yadav have been rested from the T20I series while Khaleel Ahmed, Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj have faced the axe.

Karthik has retained his place in the shortest format, while Umesh Yadav and KL Rahul have received a recall to the side. Mayank Markande, the Punjab and Mumbai Indians legspinner, has received his maiden international call-up after a string of impressive performances for the India A squad, which included a five-fer in the innings win over England Lions in Mysuru.

"We are looking at Markande as a backup spinner. We have been grooming him though India A process and today also he picked up a five-wicket haul. So, we want to look at him and he'll be a backup spinner," Prasad explained.

India's squad for T20I series against Australia: Virat (Capt), Rohit (vc), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (WK), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Sidharth Kaul, Mayank Markande