Second T20I: Kohli-Rohit back in XI as India look to wrap series

Ishan Kishan left out as squad named for first two Tests vs England

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma (photo: National Herald archives)
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma (photo: National Herald archives)

NH Sports Bureau

The ‘Big Two’ of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will be finally back together in the playing XI in the T20 format after a gap of 14 months, giving their second game against Afghanistan at Indore a greater context on Sunday. While India will looking to ensure themselves of the three-match series, both sides will be hoping that a visit to the central part of India will spare them of the cold wave sweeping through northern parts of the country. 

The match at Mohali on Thursday, where the mercury had dipped to nine degrees when the evening match started, was tough on the cricketers but even harsher for the fans - who cheered on till the end to see Shivam Dube take India home by six wickets with a flamboyant, unbeaten 60 off just 40 balls. He did claim a wicket with his gentle medium pace to win the Player of the Match, just about doing enough to keep himself in the radar as a back-up seaming allrounder. 

Kohli, who finished 2023 on a high with a tally of 753 runs in the 50-overs World Cup at home and was one of the redeeming features in Indian batting in the two-Test series under challenging circumstances in South Africa, missed the first game due to personal reasons. Rohit Sharma, back as captain in the shortest format, missed out in the first game due to a terrible misunderstanding with opening partner Shubman Gill to be run out for no score. 

No room for Kishan 

Meanwhile, India on Friday named their squad for the first two home Test matches against England of the five-Test series, beginning in Hyderabad on 25 January. There were no major surprises, apart from young wicketkeeper Dhruv Jurel being added to the squad more as a back-up in place of Ishan Kishan, who is out of favour for apparently not returning to domestic cricket after a break. 

Senior paceman Mohammed Shami, still recovering from an ankle injury, had to be left out for the first two matches. Avesh Khan has been added the pace battery, led by designated vice-captain Jasprit Bumrah while Mohammed Siraj and Mukesh Kumar are the other fast bowling options. 

India, as expected, will rely heavily on their spin department to throttle Ben Stokes & Co in home conditions. Kuldeep Yadav has been selected to provide cover for regulars Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. 

Test squad: Rohit Sharma (C ), S Gill, Y Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, S Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Dhruv Jurel (wk), R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Avesh Khan. 

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