Mumbai, Nov 9 (IANS) Impressive performers in IPL 2021, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Venkatesh Iyer, Harshal Patel, and Avesh Khan on Tuesday were named in a refreshed 16-man India squad that will take on New Zealand in a three-match T20I series, starting November 17, with star opener Rohit Sharma as the captain.
With Virat Kohli relinquishing the T20I captaincy, the Chetan Sharma-led National Selection Committee appointed Rohit as the captain of the squad while KL Rahul is the designated vice-captain.
This will also be the first assignment for the new head coach Rahul Dravid, who takes over the reins from Ravi Shastri.
Many multi-format regulars including Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ravindra Jadeja have been given a break after the T20 World Cup, which followed the completion of the Indian Premier League 2021.
Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, and Rahul Chahar, who were part of the 15-member T20 World Cup squad, have not been picked.
Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, and Axar Patel, who were all part of the travelling reserves at the T20 World Cup, have been included in this squad, which also sees the return of Yuzvendra Chahal and Mohammed Siraj.
Among those picked for their fantastic performances in IPL 2021 is Orange Cap winner Gaikwad, who played two T20Is for India on the tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year. Meanwhile, Avesh, Venkatesh and Harshal, were part of the India bubble at the World Cup and helped assist the team in its preparations.
India will look to start building towards the next T20 World Cup in Australia after a disappointing performance in the UAE which saw them losing their opening two games to Pakistan and New Zealand. Despite winning their last three games handsomely, India failed to qualify for the semi-finals.
The three T20Is will be played in Jaipur (November 17), Ranchi (Nov 19), and Kolkata (Nov 21). The squad for the two subsequent Tests, at Kanpur (Nov 25-29) and Mumbai (December 3-7), will be announced later.
The selection committee also picked the India ‘A’ squad for the South Africa tour with J&K fast bowler Umran Malik and Karnataka opener Devdutt Padikkal finding a place. The 14-member team, led by Priyank Panchal, is scheduled to play three four-day games in Bloemfontein starting on November 23.
India’s T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (Vice-Captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohd. Siraj
India ‘A’ squad for South Africa tour: Priyank Panchal (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Devdutt Padikkal, Sarfaraz Khan, Baba Aparajith, Upendra Yadav (wicket-keeper), K Gowtham, Rahul Chahar, Saurabh Kumar, Navdeep Saini, Umran Malik, Ishan Porel, Arzan Nagwaswalla