Mumbai: Rookie Hyderabad pacer Mohammed Siraj and prolific Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer were the two new faces in the Indian T20 squad announced today for the three-match series against New Zealand starting November 1.
Despite speculation, skipper Virat Kohli has decided against taking rest from the New Zealand leg and the first two Tests against Sri Lanka, starting November 16. The first two Tests against Sri Lanka are to be held in Kolkata and Nagpur.
However, chairman of selectors MSK Prasad indicated that a "rotation policy will be applicable" for the captain as well. It is expected that Kohli will be rested for the final Test and the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka, which is slated in December as he would be required fresh and re- energised before the tough tour of South Africa.
There are no surprises in the Test squad with Abhinav Mukund making way for a fit-again first-choice opener Murali Vijay. Vijay did not take part in the last Test series against Sri Lanka due to hand injury and some other fitness related issues.
Predictably, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja made a comeback in the longer version with Kuldeep Yadav being the third specialist spinner. Senior speedsters Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma are back in the squad for the five-day format along with Test specialists Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha.
While 23-year-old Siraj, who first came into prominence for Sunrisers Hyderabad, came up with some impressive performances for India A during a recent tour of South Africa and matches against New Zealand. Iyer has been a consistent performer for Mumbai and India A during the past one year.
He scored a double hundred earlier this year in a warm-up game against Australia along with a match-winning hundred in the final against South Africa A in the summit clash of an away tri-series.
His call-up is on expected lines as he has had some good knocks for the Delhi Daredevils in the 2016 edition of the Indian Premier League. Ashish Nehra, who will retire after the first T20 game on November 1, has been picked for only that game scheduled in his home ground of Delhi.
Squad for T20: Virat Kohli (captain) Sharma, Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Ashish Nehra (only 1 game)
Test Squad (2 matches): Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandra Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma.
Schedule for NZ T20I series
November 1: 1st T20I at Ferozshah Kotla, Delhi
November 4: 2nd T20I at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot
November 7: Tuesday – 3rd T20I at Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram...