What was all but confirmed got an official affirmation from the BCCI as Rohit Sharma was named as the T20I captain of the Indian team for the home series against New Zealand starting November 17. Following Virat Kohli’s decision of stepping down as the T20I captain, it became clear that Rohit was the man waiting in the wings to take the team forward in the shortest format.
This will be the beginning of the Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma era in T20 cricket and one India would be taking a close look at given their early exit from the 2021 T20 World Cup. They have plenty of T20Is lined up before the start of the 2022 T20 World Cup and the focus would be on finding the core group of players who would play a key role in the tournament next year.
KL Rahul has been named as Rohit’s deputy and the squad will be without plenty of key players who are all given a deserved break. Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja have all been on the road for more than six months now and are rested from this home series. The other four notable players who are missing from this squad are Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy. This quartet played a role in the 2021 T20 World Cup but found themselves out of this T20I series against New Zealand.
The sixteen-member squad has given an opportunity to players who had a strong Indian T20 League season. The likes of Venkatesh Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Mohammed Siraj, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Avesh Khan have all been handed a spot in the squad on the back of their solid performances. Middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer and left-arm spinner Axar Patel are making a comeback in the T20I setup after being named in the reserves for the 2021 World Cup.
The series is set to be Rahul Dravid’s first project as the head coach of the Indian national team and would kick start on November 17 at Jaipur. The remaining two matches would be played in Ranchi and Kolkata on November 19 and 20, respectively. The T20I series will be followed by a two-match Test series, the squad of which hasn’t been announced yet by the selectors.
Along with the T20I squad, the BCCI also announced the squad for India A touring South Africa for three four-day matches starting November 23.
India’s T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj
India ‘A’ squad for South Africa tour: Priyank Panchal (c), Prithvi Shaw, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Devdutt Padikkal, Sarfaraz Khan, Baba Aparajith, Upendra Yadav (wk), K Gowtham, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Kumar, Navdeep Saini, Umran Malik, Ishan Porel, Arzan Nagwaswalla