BCCI Announced Squad for Test Series Against New Zealand: Rahane to Captain India

BCCI on November 12, 2021 announced the India test squad for upcoming India vs New Zealand test series, which will start from November 25, 2021. Ajinkya Rahane has been chosen to lead India in the first India vs New Zealand test in Kanpur.

Virat Kohli, who relinquished T20 captaincy after India were eliminated from the T20 World Cup in group stages, will join the team in the second Test and will captain the team. The Test series will be preceded by a three-match T20 series beginning November 17 in Jaipur. Kohli will not be a part of the T20 series after opting to take a break.

Rohit Sharma, who was made the captain in the T20 series against New Zealand, has also been rested by the selectors. Earlier, Rohit’s name was also discussed for the captaincy of Test matches, but keeping in mind the South African tour to be held in December, the selectors have made up their mind to rest Rohit as well.

Wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant and the pace-bowling duo of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah are not in the squad for the two-Test series against New Zealand.

The All-India Senior Selection Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), while announcing the squad for the two Tests, did not give any reason for their exclusion, although it is widely speculated that they have been rested due to the gruelling schedule over the last six months.

Karnataka player KS Bharat, who was part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore setup in IPL 2021, has been included in the squad as a reserve wicket-keeper. Shreyas Iyer and Prasidh Krishna have received their maiden Test call-ups for the series against New Zealand.

The first Test match is slated to be held in Kanpur starting 25 November. The second game is scheduled to be played in Mumbai between 3 December and 7 December. Kohli will be available to captain the side for the second Test in Mumbai. The last time India and New Zealand clashed in a Test match was back in June during the ICC World Test Championship final, which the Kiwis won by 8 wickets.

All the three openers in the squad – KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill – at some point in their careers, have batted in middle-order in Tests as well as first-class matches. There is a possibility that Agarwal and not Iyer will play in that middle-order slot.

Wriddhiman Saha, the oldest Indian Test player in this current set-up at 37, will get another crack at the traditional format during the two matches at Green Park and Wankhede.

Jayan Yadav, an off-spinner and stable middle-order batter, is also back in the series having done reasonably well in the 2016-17 series at home against England. He is the back-up for Ashwin. The pace attack will be led by Ishant Sharma with Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj being the other options.

India’s Test squad:

Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), KS Bharat (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Md. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna.

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