In the approaching T20I series, India will face New Zealand, followed by a pair of Tests. Ajinkya Rahane has been selected captain for the first Test against the Black Caps, as the BCCI aims to rest a few frontline players due to their workload. Many commentators had expected that the England Test series would be Rahane’s final appearance in the white jersey, so this may have come as a shock. Rahane scored 109 runs in seven innings, averaging 15.57 runs per innings, in what was likely one of his worst abroad trips. With all the circumstances and odds stacked against him, Rahane led India to victory in Australia earlier this year.

According to sources, India’s newly recruited head coach Rahul Dravid backed Rahane’s decision to stay in the Test squad. Dravid supported Rahane and may have helped raise his professional status, even if it was only for a single Test match. Not just Rahane, Dravid has shown confidence in India’s Test specialist hitter Cheteshwar Pujara, who has been criticised for his inconsistency.

“Dravid’s impact can be seen in Cheteshwar Pujara’s belated but well-deserved elevation as the new vice-captain of the Test team, even if it is just for one Test,” according to the certain sources. Dravid’s decision to make Pujara the new vice-captain could be interpreted as a statement that “Indian cricket values Test cricket, elite performers, and experienced campaigners more.”

In the last two Tests against England, Pujara regained his stride, scoring 91 and 61 runs in the second innings of the Headingley and Oval Tests, respectively. India will play New Zealand in the first Test at Greenpark Stadium in Kanpur from November 25 to 29, with the second Test starting on December 4 in Mumbai.