On expected lines, Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami are back in India’s T20I squad for the tour of New Zealand after being rested for the home matches against Sri Lanka. However, the wait for the return of Hardik Pandya continues as his “rehabilitation process is taking longer than expected,” the BCCI stated in a release on Sunday (January 12).
Pandya last played for India in the home T20Is against South Africa in September, soon after which he underwent a surgery to deal with his troublesome back. He had initially been named in the India A limited-overs tour to New Zealand, only to be pulled out at the 11th hour with Vijay Shankar replacing him.
Meanwhile, Rohit’s inclusion comes at the expense of Sanju Samson, who played a solitary T20I in a season where he was in and out of the squad. With KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan also part of the squad, and coming off good performances, the combination India go with would be something to keep an eye out for.
Unlike Samson, there’s no such casualty in the seam-bowling department though, with India naming a 16-man squad under Virat Kohli, allowing for the addition of Shami while also keeping the rest of the pack intact. Shami’s addition only serves to bolster the seam bowling attack in which Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur keep their places alongside Bumrah, with their only other contenders – Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar – out injured. Although, both Saini and Thakur have also grabbed the limited opportunities made available to them.
India have also retained all four spinners in Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar and Ravindra Jadeja, with their squad mostly wearing a settled look from the 2-0 win over Sri Lanka.