Rohit Sharma to skip Tests; Ajinkya Rahane to lead in first Test against New Zealand

Ajinkya Rahane will captain India against New Zealand in the first of two Test series later this month. Following the decision by the selectors to rest Virat Kohli in the first Test in Kanpur, it was announced on Thursday that Rohit Sharma will miss the entire Test series to manage his workload. The decision was made following a meeting of the selectors on Thursday. Four regular Test players, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Rishabh Pant, and Shardul Thakur, have already been ruled out of the Test series, according to the Times of India.

After Kohli requested a rest in the first Test, there was a lengthy conversation about the stand-in captain, according to sources. There was talk of giving Rohit the captaincy for the first Test and then resting him for the second Test in Mumbai. However, following a comprehensive examination of Rohit’s workload, it was determined that the new full-time T20I captain required further time off.

While Rahane’s form has been questioned for some time, TOI understands that the selectors were reluctant to make wholesale changes and wanted to ensure that in the absence of Kohli and Rohit, the team had a seasoned leader. Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal will open the innings alongside the in-form KL Rahul, with Wriddhiman Saha set to be the first-choice wicketkeeper. Rahane and Hanuma Vihari, who last played a Test in January in Sydney, will lead the middle order.

Former Pakistan all-rounder and skipper Shahid Afridi responded to Rohit’s appointment as T20I captain by saying he expected it. Afridi, who played alongside Rohit in the inaugural IPL in 2008, believes Rohit should be given a chance as India’s full-time captain and expects to see two sides of the T20I team’s new captain. Afridi spoke on outgoing skipper Virat Kohli’s job, stating that it would not be a bad idea for the star Indian batsman to step down as leader in all formats and focus on his batting.