The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday late night selected the Indian team for the upcoming limited-overs series against New Zealand and the first two Tests against Australia. The selectors picked a 16-man squad for both the series against New Zealand, where India will play three ODIs followed by three T20Is.
The BCCI has revealed the reason behind Rahul’s ouster, but has not given any explanation for the exclusion of veterans like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli from the series.
The BCCI press release stated: “KL Rahul and Akshar Patel were not available for the New Zealand home series due to family commitments.” It has also been told that if all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja becomes fully fit, then he will be able to play only the first two matches of the Border Gavaskar Trophy. It said, ‘Jadeja’s inclusion in the team depends on his fitness.’
However, there was no mention of Virat and Rohit, both of whom are currently part of the ODI series against Sri Lanka. BCCI secretary Jay Shah has also not commented on his absence.
Earlier last month, a PTI report, before finalizing the squad for the 3rd T20I at home against Sri Lanka, had mentioned that India would name only specialists for the format, meaning players like Kohli will be given a break from the shortest format. Virat was not actually named for the Sri Lanka T20Is, but came back for the ODIs. Rohit, however, missed out due to his recovery from a finger injury.
After returning to the ODI series, Rohit Sharma said, ‘First of all it is not possible to play back-to-back matches. You need to give them (all formats players) enough breaks. I definitely fell into that too. We have three T20 Internationals against New Zealand. We will see what happens after IPL. I have not decided to give up the format.”
India will play only two more T20I series this year – both against the West Indies in July-August and the ODI contest against Australia after the World Cup.