Rohit Sharma named India's T20I captain; Harshal Patel and Venkatesh Iyer receive maiden call-ups for New Zealand series

  • Rohit Sharma has been appointed as the new T20I captain of India as the BCCI announced a 16-member squad for the New Zealand series. Venkatesh Iyer and Harshal Patel received maiden call-ups with several big stars including Virat Kohli, has been rested.
India's new T20I captain Rohit Sharma. (Getty)
India's new T20I captain Rohit Sharma. (Getty)
Updated on Nov 09, 2021 09:16 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

Rohit Sharma has been named India's new T20I captain as the BCCI on Tuesday announced a 16-member squad that will play three T20Is against New Zealand starting later this month. However, the team will be without the likes of stars Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, who have been rested for the T20Is.

KL Rahul has been appointed as vice-captain of the team, which also marks maiden international call-ups for IPL sensations Venkatesh Iyer and Harshal Patel. Iyer represented Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2021, scoring 370 runs at an average of 41.11 with four half-centuries and grabbing three wickets, playing a crucial role in the two-time champions reaching the final.

Harshal, representing the Royal Challengers Bangalore, emerged as the leading wicket-taker with 32 wickets, the joint-highest in a single edition of the IPL, including a hat-trick against five-time champions Mumbai Indians.

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The squad also features young pacer Avesh Khan following a phenomenal show in the IPL. Avesh, one of the reserve players for the England Test series, had to return home after sustaining an injury during the warm-up game, but made a brilliant recovery to finish the IPL with 24 wickets for Delhi Capitals. Yuzvendra Chahal returns to the fold after getting axed for the T20 WC even as the spin department remains bolstered in the company of R Ashwin and Axar Patel.

Shreyas Iyer, who was one of the stand-by players at the World Cup, has been added back to the squad, which also marks the return of Ruturaj Gaikwad, the leading run-getter of IPL 2021 and its Orange Cap winner. Gaikwad, who peeled off 635 runs in Chennai Super Kings' title-winning campaign last month, was part of India's squad for Sri Lanka tour but failed to return impressive numbers.

As expected, there is no place for regulars Kohli, Bumrah, Shami, Jadeja and Pandya, who have been on the road for far too long. Kohli, Shami Bumrah and Jadeja have been playing at a stretch since India's tour of England in August, followed by the IPL and the recently-concluded T20 World Cup in the UAE. The motive behind giving them a breather seems to stem from the fact that India embark on a long tour of South Africa from December, and the team could really do by offering their top players a much-needed break so they can freshen up and be ready in time for the SA tour.

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The board also announced India A's squad and itinerary for 3 four-day matches in South Africa, which will take place on November 23, November 29 and December 6 in Bloemfontein. It features Priyank Panchal as captain along with the inclusion of RCB young batter Devdutt Padikkal, and Sunrisers Hyderabad's latest pace sensation Umran Malik.

There was, however, no information about India's Test squad for the two-match series against New Zealand, which starts November 25, following the conclusion of the T20Is on November 21. 

India's T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (Vice-Captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), 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 (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Devdutt Padikkal, Sarfaraz Khan, Baba Aparajith, Upendra Yadav (wicket-keeper), K Gowtham, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Kumar, Navdeep Saini, Umran Malik, Ishan Porel, Arzan Nagwaswalla

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