Hardik Pandya to lead India in T20Is for NZ tour
Indian Cricketer Hardik Pandya

Guwahati: All-rounder Hardik Pandya will lead India in the three-match T20I rubber during the upcoming tour of New Zealand next month. Stumper Rishabh Pant has been named his deputy for the series, starting merely five days after the final of the ongoing T20 World Cup in Australia.

Chetan Sharma, the chairman of the senior national selection committee, said many senior players, including regular skipper Rohit Sharma and his predecessor Virat Kohli, were rested keeping in mind the workload management of the players.

“I say it every time that we have to manage the players and when we do that, the media ends up writing about how different players are playing in the lineup with different captains. We have to manage the workload. We hurried up Jasprit Bumrah a bit, we tried as the World Cup was coming and see what happened. We are without Jasprit Bumrah for this World Cup,” said Sharma, citing Bumrah’s example on workload management.

Besides Rohit and Virat, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik and Ravichandran Ashwin were also omitted from the T20I squad.

So are the doors of international cricket closed for the 37-year-old Karthik post the T20 World Cup?

“We are working on load management and the way he’s performed he’s always available for selection. We are just trying a different set of players. Doors are open for him,” reiterated Chetan, who on this day (October 31) picked a hat-trick against Pakistan in the 1987 World Cup game in Nagpur.

This will be India’s first tour of New Zealand since early 2020. The series against the BlackCaps will begin with the first T20I in Wellington on November 18. Mount Maunganui will host the second game on November 20 followed by the third at Napier on November 22. The three ODIs will be played in Auckland (Nov 25), Hamilton (Nov 27) and Christchurch (Nov 30).

Veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan will lead the team in the three ODIs in New Zealand, which will also witness the return of fast bowlers Umran Malik and Kuldeep Sen. The likes of Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda and Sanju Samson will have a chance to impress once again in the absence of the senior Indian players, who will be seen returning for the ODIs and Tests in Bangladesh again.

The chief selector also named the squads for the subsequent tour of Bangladesh in December. India will play three ODIs and two Tests with the eastern neighbours, starting December 4.

Star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who missed the ongoing World Cup due to an injury, is expected to make a comeback to international cricket for the ODI series against Bangladesh, subject to his fitness, while Rohit Sharma will assume his usual captaincy duties along with KL Rahul as vice-captain, after the breather.

The ODI series against Bangladesh will be played at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on December 4, 7 and 10. India will then head to Chattogram to play the first Test from December 14-18 before returning to Dhaka for the second five-day game from December 22-26.

Squad for NZ T20Is:

Hardik Pandya (C), Rishabh Pant (VC & wk), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson (wk), W Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Harshal Patel, Mohd. Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umran Malik.

Squad for NZ ODIs:

Shikhar Dhawan (C), Rishabh Pant (VC & wk), Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson (wk), W Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Shahbaz Ahmed, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Sen, Umran Malik.

Squad for Bangladesh ODIs:

Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul (VC), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Shreyas Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, W Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Deepak Chahar, Yash Dayal

Squad for Bangladesh Tests:

Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul (VC), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umesh Yadav.

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