Rohit Sharma named captain for New Zealand T20I series; Chahal returns as Venkatesh Iyer receives maiden call-up

Rohit Sharma has been named captain for India’s home T20I series against New Zealand as the selectors announced a 16-man squad for the three-match rubber starting on November 17 in Jaipur.

Virat Kohli, whose stint as India’s T20I captain came to an end with the T20 World Cup, is among a host of regulars absent. Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, and Shardul Thakur are the major names missing from the Indian squad.

KL Rahul has been named India’s vice-captain, while Venkatesh Iyer, who impressed with the bat for Kolkata Knight Riders in the second half of the IPL 2021 season, has received his maiden call-up to the national side.

Top-order batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad also returns to the squad, along with Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Axar Patel, Deepak Chahar, and Shreyas Iyer.

Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan have been rewarded for their performances in the IPL after winning the Purple Cap and finishing as the second-highest wicket-taker, respectively, in the 2021 edition of the tournament.

Yuzvendra Chahal, who didn’t find a place in India’s T20 World Cup squad, replaces Rahul Chahar, while Varun Chakravarthy has been left out. Ravichandran Ashwin has retained his spot after a string of good bowling performances on his return to the Indian T20 setup at the T20 World Cup in the UAE.

The home series against the Blackcaps will be Rahul Dravid’s first as India’s full-time coach after replacing Ravi Shastri at the helm.

The three T20Is are scheduled to be played on November 17, November 19 and November 21. After a three-day break, the two teams will play a two-match Test series, the first of which starts on November 25 in Kanpur, followed by the second Test starting on December 3 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

India’s T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Venkatesh Iyer, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Harshal Patel, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj

Ajinkya Rahane to lead India in first Test

The Indian Test squad for the two-match series also has a host of changes, with Rahane set to lead the home team in Kohli’s absence in the first Test in Kanpur.

Kohli will return to captain India in the second Test in Mumbai, while T20I captain Rohit has not been named in the 16-man squad. Cheteshwar Pujara has been named the vice-captain in Kohli’s absence.

Jadeja returns to the Test side after being rested for the T20I series, while Andhra’s Kona Srikar Bharat has been named as the second wicketkeeper in place of the absent Rishabh Pant.

Shami and Bumrah will remain absent in India’s bowling attack, which will be led by Ishant Sharma. Umesh Yadav, Siraj and Karnataka’s Prasidh Krishna are the other three fast bowlers in the line-up. Jayant Yadav is the fourth spinner in the squad, which also features Ashwin and Axar Patel.

Shreyas Iyer has also earned a call-up to the Indian Test squad, while Hanuma Vihari has been named in the 14-man India-A squad for the shadow tour of South Africa.

India’s Test squad: Ajinkya Rahane (c), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara (vice-captain), Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna