New Delhi: Rohit Sharma was on Tuesday officially appointed India's new T20 captain replacing Virat Kohli, while KL Rahul is the designated vice-captain. The Chetan Sharma-led National Selection Committee has also rewarded impressive performers in IPL 2021, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Venkatesh Iyer, Harshal Patel, and Avesh Khan by naming them to the 16-man Indian squad that will take on New Zealand in a three-match T20I series, starting November 17.
Ruturaj Gaikwad is IPL's highest run-getter and Harshal Patel top wicket-taker while Venkatesh Iyer is seen as a potential all-rounder replacement for the injury-ravaged Hardik Pandya. Pandya has been dropped from the squad after failing to make an impact during the T20 World Cup and he could not actually provide an honest picture of his fitness status too. Ruturaj has already played for India in the Sri Lanka series.
This will also be the first assignment for the new head coach Rahul Dravid, who takes over the reins from Ravi Shastri.
Senior leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal rightfully got his place in the squad back while Mohammed Siraj, who has played a few T20Is in the past, is also in the mix.
Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar, who were in the T20 World Cup reserves are now in the main squad.
Rohit's appointment was a formality and KL Rahul will be his new deputy in the shortest format.
Many multi-format regulars including Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ravindra Jadeja have been given a break after the T20 World Cup, which followed the completion of the Indian Premier League 2021. Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, and Rahul Chahar, who were part of the 15-member T20 World Cup squad, have not been picked.
Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, and Axar Patel, who were all part of the travelling reserves at the T20 World Cup, have been included in this squad, which also sees the return of Yuzvendra Chahal and Mohammed Siraj.
The three T20Is will be played in Jaipur (November 17), Ranchi (Nov 19), and Kolkata (Nov 21). The squad for the two subsequent Tests, at Kanpur (Nov 25-29) and Mumbai (December 3-7), will be announced later.
The selection committee also picked the India 'A' squad for the South Africa tour with J&K fast bowler Umran Malik and Karnataka opener Devdutt Padikkal finding a place. The 14-member team, led by Priyank Panchal, is scheduled to play three four-day games in Bloemfontein starting on November 23.