New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Vice-captain Rohit Sharma on Sunday returned to India's 16-member T20 squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand while the selectors dropped Kerala batsman Sanju Samson. The selection panel also recalled pacer Mohammed Shami, who like Rohit, was rested for the T20 series against Sri Lanka. Wicket-keeper batsman Samson had played the third T20 against Sri Lanka in Pune, scoring just six runs before falling prey off the second delivery he faced. 

"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 domestic team. All the other players picked themselves," PTI quoted a senior BCCI official privy to selection matters on the condition of anonymity. The selection committee under outgoing chairman MSK Prasad has kept the ODI and Test squads on hold for the time being. 

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Interestingly, the Test and the ODI squads were kept on hold and it is believed that all-rounder Hardik Pandya's latest fitness drama could be the reason. A BCCI release mentioned that Pandya's rehabilitation process is taking "longer than expected". 

"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 told PTI.

The five-match T20 series against New Zealand will begin on January 24 in Auckland.

T20I Squad: 

Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manish Pandey, Shivam Dube, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Washington Sundar, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami.

(with PTI inputs)

Posted By: James Kuanal