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India-NZ series: Rahane to lead in first Test as Kohli, Sharma rested

Kohli will be back for the second game in Mumbai from December 3

rahane-ind-aus-test2-ap India's Ajinkya Rahane waves to the crowd as he leaves the field on day 3 of the second Test match against Australia | AP

Ajinkya Rahane will lead the Indian team in the first Test of the two-match series against New Zealand later this month. Test skipper Virat Kohli has been rested for the opener on November 25 in Kanpur, while newly appointed T20 skipper Rohit Sharma has been rested for both the matches.

The squad was announced today after a meeting of the selection committee on Thursday. This will be India's first Test series under new head coach Rahul Dravid.

Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant and Shardul Thakur, too, will miss the Test series.

Kohli will be back for the second game in Mumbai on December 3. The Indian Test and ODI captain has spoken extensively about the bubble fatigue and how it has been taking a toll on the players mentally.

Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal have been included as openers to partner K.L. Rahul, while Wriddhiman Saha will the first-choice wicketkeeper in Pant's absence. K.S. Bharath will be the second keeper.

The rest of the squad comprises Test regulars like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Ravindra Jadeja, and young Prasidh Krishna.

As expected, Paras Mhambrey will join the team as the new bowling coach replacing Bharat Arun, whose tenure ended with India's campaign in the T20 World Cup.

Vikram Rathour has been retained as the batting coach after he reapplied for the position, while T. Dilip is the new fielding coach.

It is learnt that Dravid wanted Abhay Sharma to be the fielding coach but the Cricket Advisory Committee has gone with Dilip, who had travelled with the Indian team during the July tour of Sri Lanka.

After the New Zealand series, India will travel to South Africa in December to play three Tests, three ODIs and four T20Is. This will be followed by multi-format series against West Indies and Sri Lanka, and then straight to the 2022 IPL season.

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