India retain Rohit and Dhawan for New Zealand series
India retained opener Shikhar Dhawan and middle order batsman Rohit Sharma on Monday for their three-test home series against New Zealand beginning in Kanpur later this month.
The 29-year-old Rohit is an automatic choice in India’s limited-overs sides but has failed to replicate that form in the five-day format, averaging 32.62 with the bat in 18 tests.
He scored nine and 41 in the third test in West Indies at Gros Islet and did not get a chance to bat in the final match of the series at Port of Spain, which was washed out.
Left-handed opener Dhawan’s place was also under scrutiny after he was dropped for the fourth test against West Indies following scores of 27, 26 and one in his three previous innings in the Caribbean.
The emergence of Lokesh Rahul, who was named in the 15-member squad, as an opener has put further pressure on Dhawan to perform after the 24-year-old right-hander scored two hundreds and a fifty in four innings against West Indies in tests and a Twenty20 international.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who also scored two centuries against West Indies after being promoted in the batting order, will lead India’s slow-bowling attack, aided by leggie Amit Mishra and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav were the three pacemen in India’s squad.
The new Zealand series will mark the start of a bumper home season for India during which they will play 13 test matches.
The second-ranked test side in the world will next host England for five tests before Australia tour the country for four test matches. Bangladesh will also play their maiden test in India next year.
Kanpur hosts the first match from Sept 22, followed by tests in Kolkata (from Sept 30) and Indore (from Oct. 8).
Squad: Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Virat Kohli (captain), Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.