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New Delhi: Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will lead India in the first Test against New Zealand before regular skipper Virat Kohli returns for the second match even as some all-format bigwigs got complete rest from the assignment in line with the BCCI’s workload management of players.

Newly appointed T20 captain and regular opener Rohit Sharma, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, and pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have all been rested from the two matches in Kanpur (November 25 to 29), and Mumbai (December 3 to 7).

“Virat Kohli will join the squad for the second Test and will lead the team,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.

Middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer made a comeback in the Test squad along with off-spinner Jayant Yadav. The Test series will be preceded by a three-match T20 series beginning November 17 in Jaipur. Kohli will not be a part of the T20 series after opting to take a break.

One of the notable absentees from the Test side was Hanuma Vihari, who has been dropped from the 16-member squad (will be 17 in next Test).

Vihari, it is learnt, is being added to the India A squad for the tour of South Africa where he will get three matches to stake a claim in the main squad which will start its series in the last week of December.

“We are sending Vihari to South Africa for the A series and his performance in the three ‘A Test’ matches will be monitored,” a senior BCCI functionary confirmed the development to PTI.

According to sources close to the selection committee, Vihari’s current form, and not past record, has been taken into account while selecting the Test squad. Vihari, in his last six first-class innings for county team Warwickshire, produced scores of 32, 52, 8, 0, 24, and 43 not out. In the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, his output across four innings read 26, 7, 57 and 4.




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