The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on late Friday finalized the Indian squads for the upcoming limited-overs series against New Zealand and for the first two Tests against Australia. The selectors picked a 16-member squad for both the series against New Zealand where India will play three ODIs followed by 3 T20Is.
BCCI has revealed the reason behind the exclusion of Rahul, but they gave no clarification regarding the stalwarts like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli missing the series.
The press release from the BCCI read: “KL Rahul & Axar Patel were unavailable for the New Zealand Home series due to family commitments.” It also mentioned the reason behind all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja will only be playing the first two games of the Border Gavaskar trophy if he manages to regain complete fitness. It added, “Jadeja’s inclusion in the squad is subject to fitness.”
However, there was no mention of Virat and Rohit, who are both presently part of the ODI series against Sri Lanka. BCCI secretary Jay Shah has also made no comment on their absence.
Earlier last month, a PTI report, before finalizing the squad for the 3 T20Is against Sri Lanka at home, had mentioned that India will name only specialists for the format implying that players like Kohli will be given a break from the shortest format. Virat was indeed not named for the Sri Lanka T20Is but had returned for the ODIs. Rohit had however missed owing to his recovery from a finger injury.
After returning to the ODI series, Rohit Sharma said, “Firstly, it is not possible to play back-to-back matches. You need to give them (all format players) enough break. I definitely fell in that as well. We have three T20Is 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 away contests against West Indies in July-August and Australia after the ODI World Cup.