For their upcoming home series against New Zealand, India left Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli out of their T20I roster. The absence of KL Rahul and Axar Patel from both the ODI and T20I legs of the series was attributed by the BCCI to family obligations, although Rohit, India’s normal all-format skipper, and Kohli were not given a particular explanation.
India’s top three picks from their previous two T20 World Cups are now absent from back-to-back T20 International series as a result.
India’s long-term participation in the format may not yet be significantly impacted by this, though. As India prepared for the 50-overs World Cup later this year, Rohit stated that the selectors and team management had made it clear to a number of senior players that they would not be able to play all three formats over the upcoming few months for workload-management reasons. This was stated ahead of the recently concluded ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Suryakumar Yadav will serve as Hardik Pandya’s deputy during the T20I series, which will be contested in Ranchi, Lucknow, and Ahmedabad from January 27 to February 1. Hardik Pandya, who led India in the three T20Is against Sri Lanka earlier this month, will continue to captain the team.
Before the T20Is, the ODI series, which will be contested in Hyderabad, Raipur, and Indore from January 18 to January 24, will also feature Rohit and Kohli.
Harshal Patel leaves, and Prithvi Shaw enters
The T20I team is also significant for the return of opener Prithvi Shaw, whose absence from following squads – particularly in the T20 format – has been a continual cause of criticism given his unique ability to produce quick starts in the powerplay. Prithvi Shaw last played for India in July 2021, and his absence from squads in the past has been widely criticized. The second-highest first-class score by an Indian hitter was recorded by Shaw earlier this week while playing for Mumbai against Assam in the Ranji Trophy. Shaw’s 379 off 383 balls was the catalyst for his entry into the discussion.
Kuldeep Yadav, a left-arm wrist spinner who recorded a Player-of-the-Match-winning 3 for 51 against Sri Lanka on Thursday in the second ODI, is also included in the T20I squad after not having played for India in that format since August 2022. Together with Yuzvendra Chahal, he is one of the team’s two wrist spinners.
With Rahul sitting out the ODIs, India have picked up the untested KS Bharat as a second wicketkeeper alongside Kishan. Bharat is also a member of India’s team for the first two Test matches against Australia in February. He is anticipated to compete with Kishan for the job of lead wicketkeeper in the absence of Rishabh Pant, who is currently recovering from knee ligament surgery after a serious car accident in late December.
Shahbaz Ahmed, an all-rounder who bats left-handed and bowls left-arm spin, has been selected by the selectors to fill Axar’s spot in the meanwhile. Shahbaz has recently competed in three ODIs, most recently in December on the tour of Bangladesh. Shahbaz has lately competed in white-ball matches.
All-rounder Shardul Thakur, a fast bowler who missed the series against Sri Lanka, is also back in the lineup. Arshdeep Singh, a left-arm fast bowler who was a member of the team for the ODI against Sri Lanka but didn’t have a chance in the starting XI, is left off the roster but is still included in the T20I group.
Jasprit Bumrah, who was originally selected for the ODI team against Sri Lanka but withdrew before the series began because he was still recovering from a chronic back problem, is not included in the squads for either the first two Tests against Australia or the white-ball matches.