India's Pant returns for England T20s

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FILE PHOTO: India v South Africa - ODI Series - India Nets

(Reuters) - India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant has been included in the Twenty20 squad for next month's five-match series against England, the country's cricket board (BCCI) said on Saturday.

Pant, who was dropped for the limited-overs series in Australia, has been rewarded for his consistent performances with the bat in red-ball cricket.

The swashbuckling 23-year-old produced spectacular fourth innings knocks of 97 and 89 not out in Sydney and Brisbane to help India pull off an epic 2-1 triumph in the test series against Australia last month.

He also struck half-centuries in the first two tests of the current four-match series against England.

Pant, who replaces Sanju Samson, will hope to cement his spot in the limited-overs side ahead of this year's T20 World Cup.

Batsman Suryakumar Yadav and wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan have also been included in the 19-man squad, while Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja have been left out.

India and England are scheduled to play five T20 matches in Ahmedabad, with the opening game to be held on March 12.

Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Varun Chakravarthy, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Rahul Tewatia, T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)