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India have left Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli out of their T20I squad for the upcoming home series against New Zealand. KL Rahul is also not in the squad, and while the BCCI put his absence - and that of Axar Patel, from both the ODI and T20I legs of the series - down to family commitments, it gave no specific reason for Rohit, India's regular all-format captain, and Kohli missing the series.
As a result, India's first-choice top three from their last two T20 World Cups are now missing successive T20I series.
This may not yet have a major bearing on India's long-term future in the format, however. Ahead of the recently concluded ODI series against Sri Lanka, Rohit said the selectors and team management had made it clear to a number of senior players that they would not be able to play all three formats over the next few months for workload-management reasons, with India building up towards the 50-overs World Cup later this year.
Rohit and Kohli are part of the squad for the ODI series that will take place before the T20Is, from January 18 to 24 in Hyderabad, Raipur and Indore.
The T20I squad is also notable for the return of opener Prithvi Shaw, who last played for India in July 2021, and whose absence from subsequent squads - particularly in the T20 format - has been a constant source of debate, given his rare ability to provide rapid starts in the powerplay. Shaw forced himself into the reckoning earlier this week by scoring 379 off 383 balls - the second-highest first-class score by an Indian batter - for Mumbai against Assam in the Ranji Trophy.
Left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav, who took a Player-of-the-Match-winning 3 for 51 in the second ODI against Sri Lanka on Thursday, is also back in the T20I squad, having last featured for India in that format in August 2022. He is one of two wristspinners in the squad along with Yuzvendra Chahal.
Sanju Samson, who was ruled out midway through the T20I series against Sri Lanka with a knee injury, remains out of the squad - the BCCI release did not provide an update on his fitness. Jitesh Sharma, who replaced him, remains in the squad as one of two wicketkeeping options alongside Ishan Kishan.
Fast bowler Harshal Patel, who played only the first T20I against Sri Lanka, has been left out of the squad.
With Rahul sitting out the ODIs, India have called up the uncapped KS Bharat as a second wicketkeeper alongside Kishan. Bharat is also part of India's squad for the first two Tests against Australia in February - he is expected to contest the lead wicketkeeper role with Kishan in the absence of regular keeper Rishabh Pant, who has undergone knee ligament surgery after suffering a serious car crash in late December.
In Axar's absence, meanwhile, the selectors have called on a like-for-like replacement in Shahbaz Ahmed - both are allrounders who bat left-handed and bowl left-arm spin. Shahbaz has been part of the white-ball mix in recent months, and has played three ODIs, most recently in December on the tour of Bangladesh.
Also back in the squad is fast-bowling allrounder Shardul Thakur, who was left out of the series against Sri Lanka. Left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh, who was part of the ODI squad against Sri Lanka but didn't get a chance in the starting XI, misses out - he remains part of the T20I squad, however.
Jasprit Bumrah, who was initially named in the ODI squad against Sri Lanka before pulling out before the start of the series - he is on the road to recovery from a long-term back injury - is not part of either white-ball squad or the squad for the first two Tests against Australia.