India captain Virat Kohli will not play the last two ODIs of the New Zealand series, and the T20s that follow; he has been rested for those games, the BCCI said on Wednesday. Rohit Sharma will captain India in his absence. No replacement player has been named for Kohli.
This will be the first time this decade India will be playing an ODI outside Asia (excluding Zimbabwe) without Kohli. However, the decision to rest Kohli should come as no surprise since the selectors and the Indian team management have stressed in the last year the need to manage workloads of key players, to keep them fit for the World Cup which will be played in England from May 30. In March 2018, Kohli had skipped the Nidhas Trophy T20 series in Sri Lanka, he sat out the one-off Test against Afghanistan in June, and then took time off during the Asia Cup.
Strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah had also been rested for the limited-overs legs of the Australian and New Zealand series.
In a media release, the BCCI said that Kohli would be back for limited-overs series at home against Australia in March. "Considering his workload in the last few months, the team management and senior selection committee is of the view that it would be ideal for him to get adequate rest ahead of the home series against Australia," the BCCI release said.