IND v NZ 2021: Rohit Sharma to miss entire Test series; Rahane set to lead in 1st Test in Kohli’s absence

Ajinkya Rahane | Getty

Ajinkya Rahane will perform the role of a captain in the first game of the two-match Test series against New Zealand in Kanpur, starting November 25.

According to a TOI report, Virat Kohli will be rested for the opening Test while new full-time T20I captain Rohit Sharma will miss the entire Test series to manage his workload.

The decision was reportedly taken after the Chetan Sharma-led selection panel met on Thursday (November 11).

The report also claims that four regular Test players Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Rishabh Pant, and Shardul Thakur won’t feature in the red-ball series.

As per the sources, there was a dilemma over the stand-in captain between Rohit and Rahane after Kohli had asked for rest in the first Test. The selectors were considering handing the captaincy to Rohit for the first Test and then giving him rest for the second Test in Mumbai.

After examining Rohit’s workload, however, it was decided that the new full-time T20I captain needed to be given an extended break before the South Africa tour.

One of the biggest concerns over Rahane is his batting form as his Test average has dropped below 40 in recent times. But the selectors were wary of making wholesale changes in absence of Kohli and Rohit and, thus, Rahane was preferred for the captaincy role.

With Rohit set to miss both Tests, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal are the two opening options to partner KL Rahul. Apart from Pujara and Rahane, Hanuma Vihari is likely to feature in the middle-order while Wriddhiman Saha is slated to be the first-choice wicketkeeper.