Rohit Sharma to lead against NZ in T20Is, Kohli rested, Hardik axed; rookies Venkatesh, Harshal get in

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Updated: November 09, 2021 9:14 PM

Pandya has been dropped from the squad after failing to make an impact during the T20 World Cup. Ruturaj has already played for India in the Sri Lanka series.

rohit sharmaShreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar, who were in the T20 World Cup reserves are now in the main squad. (File/AP)

Rohit Sharma was on Tuesday officially anointed India’s new T20 captain replacing Virat Kohli, who, along with some other seniors like Jasprit Bumrah, has been rested from the three-match series against New Zealand starting November 17 in Jaipur.

The new-look team also has IPL’s highest run-getter Ruturaj Gaikwad and top wicket-taker Harshal Patel in the squad of 16 along with Venkatesh Iyer, who is seen as a potential all-round replacement for the injury-ravaged Hardik Pandya.

Pandya has been dropped from the squad after failing to make an impact during the T20 World Cup. Ruturaj has already played for India in the Sri Lanka series.

Senior leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal rightfully got his place in the squad back while Mohammed Siraj, who has played a few T20Is in the past, is also in the mix.

Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar, who were in the T20 World Cup reserves are now in the main squad.

Rohit’s appointment was a formality and KL Rahul will be his new deputy in shortest format.

“I don’t know who all spread this misinformation but when Rohit Sharma is available, there are no other options for white ball captaincy at the moment. Yes, KL Rahul is around but he is only being considered as a deputy for time being,” a senior BCCI official made it clear.

“Obviously, when Rohit takes a break he will lead but he is the white ball leader going forward,” he said.

While BCCI didn’t say anything about ODI captaincy, it is understood that the it wants one white ball captain going into the 2023 50-over World Cup and a decision for the three-match ODI series in South Africa will be taken at an appropriate time.

“I am still not sure if the board will retain Virat as ODI captain. There will be some discussions but chances are bleak. He will certainly remain the Test captain,” the official said.

Pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and spinner Ravindra Jadeja have also been given much-needed rest for the short series.

However, Pandya, who didn’t actually provide an honest picture of his fitness status, has been dropped from the squad.

It is understood that the selection committee is extremely annoyed with his fitness woes and he is the only person, who is actually “dropped” and “not rested” unlike others.

“Hardik Pandya has not yet recovered from his lower back injury. However if the former T20 captain (Kohli in this case) was bent on having him at No 6 as a specialist batter, Chetan (chief national selector Chetan Sharma) and his team had to relent.

“Ditto when he asked for five spinners and then realised that he had asked for one too many,” a senior BCCI official, privy to selection developments, told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

The quartet of Ruturaj (635 runs), Harshal (32 wickets), Avesh (24 wickets, 2nd highest wicket-taker) and Venkatesh (370 runs and 3 wickets) were unanimous picks after their stupendous IPL performances.

Similarly, the selectors did a course correction by picking Yuzvendra Chahal, who was mysteriously dropped from the World Cup squad and then was fabulous during the UAE leg of the IPL.

One player, who has probably got one last chance to redeem himself, is veteran seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He is nowhere near his best but with the pace attack a bit short on experience, he was retained.

It is understood that after this, the selectors will look at other options also.

India’s T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (Vice-Captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohd. Siraj.

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