Indian selectors announced T2)I squad for the upcoming New Zealand tour on Sunday. India are scheduled to play five T20 Internationals, three ODIs and two Test matches, with the first match (T20I) on January 24. The selection committee under outgoing chairman MSK Prasad, however, kept the ODI and Test squads on hold for the time being. (More Cricket News)
Vice-captain Rohit Sharma returned to India's 16-member T20I squad as the selectors dropped Kerala batsman Sanju Samson. Wicket-keeper batsman Samson had played the third T20 against Sri Lanka in Pune, scoring six runs.
There were no major surprises with most of the players picking themselves. The five-man selection panel also brought back pacer Mohammed Shami, who like Rohit, was rested for the T20 series against Sri Lanka.
"There are no surprises in the Indian T20 squad with Rohit as usual coming back in place of Sanju, who is already in New Zealand with the A team. All the other players picked themselves," a senior BCCI official privy to selection matters told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
Interestingly, the Test and the ODI squads were not announced and it is believed that Hardik Pandya's latest fitness drama could be the reason.
A BCCI release mentioned that Hardik Pandya's rehabilitation process is taking "longer than expected".
Vijay Shankar had replaced Pandya in India 'A' squad for New Zealand shadow tour.
"Hardik Pandya was boarding the flight to New Zealand for A team without playing a Ranji match. If we go by media reports, his trainer has said that there are workload issues with regards to his bowling. That itself implies that he is not fit. I think the BCCI will instruct Hardik to first play Ranji Trophy for Baroda and prove his fitness," another senior board source said.
T20I Squad for tour of New Zealand:
Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manish Pandey, Shivam Dube, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami.
The T20I team will leave for New Zealand on January 20, a day after the final ODI between India and Australia at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on January 19.
"They will fly from Bengaluru itself as it makes more sense logistically. No point in the team dispersing after the Australia game and then regrouping again and heading to New Zealand," a source had said.
Earlier in the day, the women's team for the T20 World Cup was announced. Bengal's rookie batswoman Richa Ghosh is the only new face in the Harmanpreet Kaur-led squad.