BCCI announces India squad for T20I series against New Zealand, Venkatesh Iyer, Harshal, Gaikwad picked, Hardik Pandya out

Following Virat Kohli’s decision to step down as captain in the shortest format, Rohit Sharma will lead India in their first T20I series. Rohit’s candidacy for the T20I leadership has been approved by Kohli and outgoing head coach Ravi Shastri, but it is unclear whether he would be awarded the position permanently. For the time being, the BCCI has simply issued a brief press release naming the roster for the forthcoming three-match home T20I series against New Zealand, which starts on November 17. Rohit’s deputy has been named KL Rahul.

Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, and Mohammed Shami are among the players that are missing from the roster. All four have been on the road almost nonstop since India’s tour of England began in June with the World Test Championship final, followed by the IPL and then the T20 World Cup, which India exited at the Super 12 stage. Hardik Pandya, an all-rounder, and Shardul Thakur, a fast bowler, are also missing from the roster. Only Rohit Sharma, Rahul, Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, and Suryakumar Yadav, who was flown in to replace Shubman Gill, have remained in India’s squads for both the England tour and the T20 World Cup.

In the team, there are four new or nearly new faces. Ruturaj Gaikwad, the leading run-getter in the IPL 2021, made his T20I debut in July when he was part of a second-string India group that toured Sri Lanka. Venkatesh Iyer, as well as fast bowlers Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan, have yet to play for India.

Yuzvendra Chahal, who had a solid finish to the IPL season in the UAE after being unexpectedly left out of the T20 World Cup squad, makes a comeback, with Rahul Chahar, the man who replaced him, missing out. Varun Chakravarthy, the mystery spinner who went wicketless in three World Cup games, is also out of the squad. Shreyas Iyer, the middle-order batter who was left out of the World Cup squad due to a lack of match practise while recovering from a shoulder injury, is back, as is left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who was originally in the World Cup squad but was replaced at the last minute by Thakur.

This will be the first series under the direction of new India coach Rahul Dravid. The BCCI also announced the India A team, which will play three four-day matches in South Africa beginning November 23. This team includes opener Prithvi Shaw and quick bowler Umran Malik.