Hardik Pandya and Shikhar Dhawan have been named captain of India’s T20I and ODI squads respectively for the tour of New Zealand, which gets underway November 18.
With Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli rested, Rishabh Pant has been appointed vice-captain of both squads, while in a huge takeaway, the T20I set-up sees the return of young pacer Umran Malik. Barring Kohli and Rohit, Dinesh Karthik and Mohammed Shami are the only other big names that are missing, with the likes of Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan and Mohammed Siraj set to usher Team India into the next era.
Also returning to the T20I fold are Shreyas Iyer and Kuldeep Yadav. The left-arm chinaman bowler, Kuldeep, last played against South Africa at home where he impressed with his wrist-spin, picking up six wickets from three matches including a best of 4/18. Iyer on the other hand, was drafted in India’s T20 World Cup squad as a reserve and will look to give his career a fresh start as he returns to a country where he performed well on his last tour. Iyer had scored 103, 52 and 62 in the three ODIs even as India were blanked 0-3. In T20Is, he had scored 153 runs from five games, including scores of 44, unbeaten 33 and 58 not out.
Umran’s return is one that takes the cake though. The 22-year-old pace sensation, who was left out of India’s T20 World Cup squad will return having played just three matches for India – two against Ireland and one against England. There has been a huge hue and cry about Umran potentially deserving a place in the World Cup squad but the selectors decided otherwise. With a plethora of legendary fast bowlers – such as Wasim Akram, Brett Lee and Dale Steyn – being vocal in their support for Umran, here is the rookie pacer’s chance to have a crack at the BlackCaps batters in chilly New Zealand conditions.