Ajinkya Rahane to lead Team India in the first of two match test series against New Zealand starting from November 25 at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur.
Regular Captain Virat Kohli will be rested for the first test to manage his workload. He will be returning to lead his side in the second test at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. The national selectors have also decided to rest Rohit Sharma in the test series to manage his workload. The decision was made after the selectors held a discussion on Thursday. Rohit will be leading Team India in a three match T20I series starting from November 17.
Regular test players like Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant and Shardul Thakur are also set to be rested.
After a lengthy discussion, it was decided that Virat Kohli will be rested for the first test match and will make a return in the second. There was a proposal to give Rohit the charge of captaincy in the first test but it was then decided to rest him from the test series.
The middle order duo of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are under the scanner after consecutive poor performances lately. The selectors are seemingly frustrated with them after poor performances for the past three years.
According to sources, Rohit Sharma might be given the duties as the vice-captain in tests if Rahane gets axed from the squad.
#TeamIndia squad for NZ Tests:— BCCI (@BCCI) November 12, 2021
A Rahane (C), C Pujara (VC), KL Rahul, M Agarwal, S Gill, S Iyer, W Saha (WK), KS Bharat (WK), R Jadeja, R Ashwin, A Patel, J Yadav, I Sharma, U Yadav, Md Siraj, P Krishna
*Virat Kohli will join the squad for the 2nd Test and will lead the team. pic.twitter.com/FqU7xdHpjQ
With no Rohit Sharma in the squad, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal are the two options to pair up with KL Rahul as an opener. In India’s tour to England, Mayank remained on the bench after being ruled out of the first test while Shubman tours was cut short due to an injury. It will be interesting to see which player pairs up with KL Rahul as none of them are favorites.
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari are likely to play in the middle order in the absence of skipper Virat Kohli.
With no Rishabh Pant in the squad, Wriddhiman Saha will be included in the playing XI after almost a year.