Ind vs NZ 1st T20I: Rohit-Dravid Duo in Focus Following World Cup Disappointment

Credit: BCCI

Newly appointed T20 captain Rohit Sharma and Head Coach Rahul Dravid lead Team India for the very first time on Wednesday.

The three-match men’s T20 International series between India and New Zealand kicks off on Wednesday, as new Head Coach Rahul Dravid charge for the first time and recently appointed T20I captain Rohit Sharma take charge for the first time.

India exited the 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup in the group stage itself after the Virat Kohli-led team lost against Pakistan and New Zealand in the first phase of the tournament.

Both Dravid and Sharma have huge shoes to fill. Despite a lack of ICC titles under his belt, Kohli was a largely successful captain in the shortest format of the game. The 33-year-old won 30 and lost 16 out of the 50 T20 Internationals he captained. Shastri, on the other hand, forged an instant bond with both players and leadership during his four-year stint as head coach.

India is without key players like Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, and Mohammed Shami, which is likely to make way for younger players like Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Avesh Khan, and Venkatesh Iyer.

New Zealand, however, come into the series with few expectations. The Kiwis will still be reeling from the disappointment of their defeat at the hands of Australia in the 2021 T20 World Cup final on Sunday.

In a massive boost to India’s hopes, captain and batting mainstay Kane Williamson has withdrawn from the T20 series to focus on the Tests that kick off on November 25.

In his absence, the side will be led by fast bowler Tim Southee. And despite the draining and disappointing recent World Cup run, the Kiwis are packed with dangerous players.

Off-spinner Ish Sodhi and all-rounder Daryl Mitchell both played a key role in their run during the World Cup, while opener Martin Guptill and James Neesham will be looking forward to playing in Indian conditions.

For Dravid, leading the T20 team is going to be one of the bigger challenges of his tenure. While he boasts of experience coaching Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the 48-year-old faces a tough test with a new captain, and a team full of out-of-form stars and hungry youngsters.

Expectations are high for both Dravid and Sharma to hit the ground running. With the next T20 World Cup less than a year away, they will need to identify key players and star performers from the very first match.

Match details

Date: November 17

Time: 7.30 p.m.

Venue: Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur

Squads (team selection to be announced at 6.30 pm)

India: Rohit Sharma (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Ishan Kishan, Venkatesh Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad

New Zealand: Tim Seifert (wk), Tim Southee (c), Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Kyle Jamieson, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi, Todd Astle, Adam Milne

Written By: Namit Kumar