The five-man selection panel also brought back pacer Mohammed Shami, who like Rohit, was rested for the T20 series against Sri Lanka. Wicket-keeper batsman Samson had played the third T20 against Sri Lanka in Pune, scoring six runs. There were no major surprises with most of the players picking themselves. The five-match T20 series against New Zealand will begin on January 24 in Auckland.
The selection committee under outgoing chairman MSK Prasad kept the ODI and Test squads on hold for the time being. “There are no surprises in the Indian T20 squad with Rohit as usual coming back in place of Sanju, who is already in New Zealand with the A team. All the other players picked themselves,” a senior BCCI official privy to selection matters said on the condition of anonymity.
Interestingly, the Test and the ODI squads were not announced and it is believed that Hardik Pandya’s latest fitness drama could be the reason. A BCCI release mentioned that Hardik Pandya’s rehabilitation process is taking “longer than expected”. Vijay Shankar had replaced Pandya in the India A squad for New Zealand shadow tour. “Hardik Pandya was boarding the flight to New Zealand for A team without playing a Ranji match.
If we go by media reports, his trainer has said that there are workload issues with regards to his bowling. That itself implies that he is not fit. I think the BCCI will instruct Hardik to first play Ranji Trophy for Baroda and prove his fitness,” another senior board source said. T20 Squad for tour of New Zealand: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manish Pandey, Shivam Dube, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami.