India vs NZ: Rohit to skip Tests; Rahane to lead in first Test


imageAjinkya Rahane.(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images) BCCI, coach Dravid speak to players before selecting team for home series

NEW DELHI: Ajinkya Rahane is likely to lead India in the first of the two Tests against New Zealand later this month.

Following their decision to rest regular captain Virat Kohli for the first Test in Kanpur which starts on November 25, the national selectors have also decided to rest Rohit Sharma for the entire Test series to manage his workload.

The decision was taken after the selectors met on Thursday.TOI has already reported that four regular Test players in Jasprit Bumrah , Mohammed Shami , Rishabh Pant and Shardul Thakur are set to miss the Test series.

According to sources, there was a lengthy discussion on the stand-in captain after Kohli had asked for rest in the first Test.There was a proposal to give Rohit the captaincy in the first Test and then give him rest for the second match in Mumbai.

However, after thorough analysis of Rohit’s workload, it was decided that the new full-time T20I captain needed to be given a longer break.

While Rahane’s form has been under the scanner for some time now, the selectors were wary of making wholesale changes and ensured there was a seasoned leader in absence of Kohli and Rohit.

Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal are the two other opening options to partner the in-form KL Rahul while Wriddhiman Saha is slated to be the first-choice wicketkeeper.

The middle-order will be manned by Rahane and Hanuma Vihari, who had last played a Test in Sydney in January.Ravindra Jadeja is expected to bat at No.

6 in the first Test Ravichandran Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar Patel will make the spin attack with Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj are expected to lead the pace attack.

Prasidh Krishna is also likely to be in the squad.

Consent of players taken before selection

TOI understands that players who have been in the bio-bubble for months now have been consulted before selecting the team for the New Zealand series.

New head coach Rahul Dravid has made an extra effort to get in touch with the players individually before planning his first assignment.

“Dravid understands workload management really well from his experience as head of the National Cricket Academy.He has called up the players and tried to understand the mind space they are in.

He has shared his vision for certain players and asked the players if they are in absolute mental condition to cope with the New Zealand series immediately after the World Cup,” a BCCI source said.

The selectors and Dravid have factored in that there will be certain players who will be required to be in bio-bubbles nearly right through to the T20 World Cup next October-November once they leave for South Africa on December 8.

New support staff joins

It is also understood that Paras Mhambrey and T Dilip have moved into the bubble as new bowling and fielding coach respectively.Vikram Rathour too has been retained as batting coach.

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