Hardik Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan to lead India in New Zealand

India are touring New Zealand from November 18 for three T20Is and three ODIs

Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul have been rested from India’s tour of New Zealand in November, with Hardik Pandya and Shikhar Dhawan named captains of the T20I and ODI squads respectively.

Rishabh Pant has been named vice-captain for the entire tour that is set to begin with the T20Is on November 18, five days after the T20 World Cup final in Australia. Neither Jasprit Bumrah nor Ravindra Jadeja, both of whom missed the T20 World Cup because of injuries, were picked for the tour.

Dhawan’s selection as ODI captain, chief selector Chetan Sharma said, was another indicator of his place in India’s 50-overs plans in the immediate future, especially with the next World Cup in India exactly a year away. Dhawan most recently led India’s second-string ODI squad in a home series against South Africa last month.

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Though Rohit, Kohli and Rahul are skipping the trip to New Zealand, as many as eight players from the T20 World Cup squad are going: Hardik, Pant, Deepak Hooda, Suryakumar Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh have been selected for the T20Is in New Zealand.

Among those who could consider themselves unlucky to miss out, especially with the senior players rested, is opener Prithvi Shaw. The Mumbai batter has played a key role in the team’s journey to the knockouts of the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s, topping their run-charts with a tally of 285 in seven innings at a strike rate of 191.27.

“We basically are looking at Prithvi, we’re constantly in touch with Prithvi, he has been doing well. There’s nothing wrong with him at all,” Sharma said. “The thing is – the players who are already playing and those who are performing, they have got their chances. He [Shaw] will definitely get his chance. The selectors are in constant touch with him, talking to him, he is doing well and he will get his chances very soon.”

While R Ashwin is believed to have asked for a break, Sharma did not reveal whether the decision to leave out Dinesh Karthik, the eldest member of the T20 World Cup squad, was a sign that India is moving on from the 37-year old finisher.

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In the fast bowling department, Mohammed Siraj and Deepak Chahar come in for the T20Is and ODIs respectively. Mohammed Shami has been given a break to manage his workload, with India scheduled to tour Bangladesh in December for their next World Test Championship assignment.

Shubman Gill is the only uncapped player in the 16-member T20I squad, while the ODI squad features three uncapped players – all fast bowlers – Arshdeep, Kuldeep Sen and Umran Malik.

As an opener, Gill was the second-highest run-getter for IPL champions Gujarat Titans in the 2022 season, scoring 483 runs in 16 innings at a strike rate of 132.32. Sen and Umran also had breakout seasons for Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively.

Sen and Umran are coming off stints for their respective state sides in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Sen managed two wickets in five T20s for Madhya Pradesh at an economy of 10.16, while Umran finished with better numbers: eight wickets in seven matches at an economy of 8.08 and a best of 4 for 27.

The presence of both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the white-ball squads meant there was no place for a third wristspinner in Ravi Bishnoi. Washington Sundar, part of both squads, and Shahbaz Ahmed (ODIs) were picked as the allrounders.

India play three T20Is and three ODIs in New Zealand from November 18, five days after the T20 World Cup final. The T20Is will be played in Wellington (November 18), Mount Maunganui (November 20) and Napier (November 22), while the ODIs are in Auckland (November 25), Hamilton (November 27) and Christchurch (November 30).

India last toured New Zealand in 2020, when they won the T20I series 5-0, lost the ODIs 3-0, and suffered a 2-0 defeat in the Test series.

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