White-ball vice-captain Rohit Sharma will be named the captain of India’s T20 squad starting with this series against New Zealand. Sharma will also be named the captain for India’s first Test match against New Zealand.
Current Test captain Virat Kohli is taking a break for the first Test and will return to the squad in the second Test match in Mumbai and take charge. Kohli is also expected to take a break during the T20s against New Zealand.
Current vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who suffered a drop in form during the tour of England, will continue to remain the vice-captain. KL Rahul will be named the vice-captain in the T20 series.
Jaipur, Ranchi and Kolkata will host the first three T20 Internationals while Kanpur and Mumbai will host the two Test matches.
Some senior players in the squad – Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Shami for instance – might be given rest for the T20s. Varun Chakravarthy will likely make way for Harshal Patel, who has been impressive in the IPL the last two seasons but was ignored for the T20 World Cup.
Shreyas Iyer, who found himself missing from the T20 World Cup squad, is also likely to find his way back in.
Cousins Deepak and Rahul Chahar might find themselves part of the squad. Rest of the squads are expected to retain themselves.
While these permutations are being worked out, the bigger story is Rohit’s elevation as T20 captain. With Rahul Dravid taking over as India’s new head coach, Rohit has his tasks cut out ahead of another T20 World Cup in a year’s time from now.
“Please do not read much into Virat resting for the initial matches. He’ll be back to captain the team from the second Test. The Test team is his and he’s done phenomenally well,” say those tracking developments.
Another important aspect for the national selectors to consider is, if Rishabh Pant continues to be the first choice Test wicket-keeper, and if the selectors have a spot in mind for a reserve wicket-keeper, will they go back to Wriddhiman Saha or decide to give a youngster like KS Bharat (from Andhra) an opportunity going forward.
It’s been a long journey for this Indian team since August last year and only England – that also follows the concept of split captaincy – have played equal or more matches than Team India. Selections will be made bearing in mind that if a cricketer asks for rest, he’ll be given his due.
The BCCI will not take a call on one-day captaincy right now simply because the format is not relevant at the moment. Against New Zealand, the team will only play Tests and T20 Internationals.
India will play three Tests, three one-day internationals and four T20 Internationals on the tour of South Africa starting the third week of December. The BCCI and the national selectors will take a call on one-day captaincy when the time comes to pick a squad for that tour.
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