India vs New Zealand: Rohit Sharma rested, Rahane gets Test lifeline.


12/11/2021 12:29:59 PM   Rajan Kumar Singh         196






Rohit Sharma will miss the two-match Test series against New Zealand, which begins in Kanpur on November 25, after the national selectors decided to give him much-needed rest. The second Test is in Mumbai from December 3.

Virat Kohli has already been given a break for the three-match T20I series and will not be considered for the first Test as well. A formal announcement will be made shortly.

The decision to rest Rohit has provided Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane with a lifeline after a poor series in England. There was talk that the selectors wanted Rohit to lead in the opening Test since Rahane’s form was an issue.

However, with Rohit now rested, there is little doubt that Rahane will lead in Kanpur.

It is not clear whether the selectors acted under pressure or decided to avoid any controversy by handing the leadership to the regular vice-captain.

At the impromptu meeting on Thursday, the selectors also decided to rest Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Rishabh Pant for the Test series.

Workload management seems to be a major issue after India’s exit from the T20 World Cup with the BCCI brass and head coach Rahul Dravid emphasising on the need to keep the cricketers physically fit and in good spirits mentally. Most of India’s top-ranked multi-format players have been playing almost non-stop since June when they landed in Southampton for the World Test Championship final.

“This series will be a final chance for Rahane to prove his mettle. Else the selectors will be forced to look at Hanuma Vihari as the No.5 batsman or try out some other youngster. Even Mayank Agarwal can be considered an option,” a source told The Telegraph.

Coach Dravid is learnt to have stressed on the need to have format-specific players so that every individual gets the required rest and can stay fresh mentally. He had highlighted player fatigue as an issue when he appeared before the Cricket Advisory Committee earlier this month.

Keeping Pant out will mean Wriddhiman Saha could finally get an opportunity to play. The Bengal wicketkeeper-batsman last played a Test in Adelaide in December 2020. Andhra wicketkeeper-batsman KS Bharat could also get an entry in the 16-member squad. The selectors even considered resting KL Rahul, who has been playing non-stop since June. But with the intention to provide balance and stability at the top of the order, it was decided that he would continue to be part of the squad.

“Making wholesale changes to give the players a break is not possible in one series. It has to be done in a phased manner. Moreover, the series is against World Test champions New Zealand who can never be taken for granted,” the source maintained.

The BCCI is also understood to have reassured the seniors of their place in the side even if their replacement fares well.








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