Vice-captain Rohit Sharma returned to the Indian team as the BCCI named a 16-member squad for the five-match T20I series against New Zealand late on Sunday. Mohammed Shami, who like Rohit, was rested for the Sri Lanka series, also returns to the squad. However, Sanju Samson, who wasted his opportunity in the third and final T20I against Sri Lanka scoring just 6, has been dropped with Rishabh Pant taking over the wicket-keeping responsibilities.

“There are no surprises in the Indian T20 squad with Rohit as usual coming back in place of Sanju, who is already in New Zealand with the A team. All the other players picked themselves,” a senior BCCI official privy to selection matters told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

The squad for the Test and ODI series has been kept on hold and Hardik Pandya‘s latest fitness drama could be the reason. Vijay Shankar had replaced Pandya in the India A squad for New Zealand shadow tour.

“Hardik Pandya was boarding the flight to New Zealand for A team without playing a Ranji match. If we go by media reports, his trainer has said that there are workload issues with regards to his bowling. That itself implies that he is not fit. I think the BCCI will instruct Hardik to first play Ranji Trophy for Baroda and prove his fitness,” another senior board source said.

The T20I series begins on January 24 at the Eden Park in Auckland. The ODI series kick-start on February 5 at Seddon Park in Hamilton. Basin Reserve in Wellington will host the first of the two-Test series which gets underway on February 21.

India will look to maintain their unbeaten run in the shorter format after a sensational home season where they registered wins over South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies and Sri Lanka.

Full Squad:

T20Is: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), KL Rahul, S Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, W Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur