New Delhi. India’s newly appointed T20 captain Rohit Sharma will be rested for the two-match Test series against New Zealand (India vs New Zealand) while Virat Kohli will miss the opening match. In such a situation, ‘mentally and physically exhausted’ Team India will look a bit weak due to workload management in the home series. Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side in the opening Test in Kanpur as Kohli has extended his leave after being ruled out of the three-match T20I series (IND vs NZ) starting in Jaipur from November 17. According to a reliable source of the Cricket Board of India (BCCI), the team was finalized after a meeting of the selection committee on Thursday, but the official announcement is still awaited.
The other big players to be out of both the Tests in Kanpur and Mumbai are wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and the pace duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. Rohit will take this break after leading the team in the T20I series. The Test match will start in Kanpur from November 25. Kohli will return for the Test in Mumbai starting December 3. Indian Test and ODI captains have repeatedly talked about ‘bio-bubble’ fatigue, how much it is causing mental problems for the players.
Saha will take charge in Pant’s absence
In Rishabh Pant’s absence, Wriddhiman Saha will take over the wicketkeeping responsibility while KS Bharat will be the second wicketkeeper for the series. Bharat, 28, from Andhra Pradesh has played for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. He was among the five standby players for the home Test series against England this year. The team includes Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal.
New support staff to join Rahul Dravid
At the same time, the new support staff will also join the team. As expected, Paras Mhambrey will replace Bharat Arun as the new bowling coach, whose tenure ended with India’s campaign in the T20 World Cup coming to an end. Bharat Arun and head coach Ravi Shastri’s tenure ended with the team’s final group stage match against Namibia. Mhambrey is close to new head coach Rahul Dravid and was part of the support staff during Sri Lanka’s tour of India in July this year, with Dravid as the head coach.
Vikram Rathour will continue as batting coach
Vikram Rathor has retained his position as batting coach as he applied for the position while T Dileep will be the new fielding coach. It is believed that Dravid wanted Abhay Sharma as the fielding coach but the Cricket Advisory Committee chose Dileep, who had accompanied the Indian team on the Sri Lanka tour.
Probable squad for Test series against New Zealand: Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Siraj, Prashant Krishna, KS Bharat (WK) , Ravindra Jadeja.