India’s bid to extend their success from the T20I series into the longer forms against New Zealand has been dealt a blow, with opener Rohit Sharma ruled out of both remaining legs of the tour after sustaining a calf strain in the fifth T20I.
Mayank Agarwal has been drafted into the ODI side as Rohit's replacement, while Prithvi Shaw has been recalled to the Test side.
Rohit, who filled in for Virat Kohli as stand-in captain in Mount Maunganui, limped off the field after pulling a calf muscle while attempting a quick single. He was batting on 60 then, and was forced to retire hurt and never returned. In his absence, KL Rahul oversaw India’s successful defence of 163, as they registered a clean sweep.
A Board of Control for Cricket in India source confirmed the development to the Press Trust of India. Although no replacement has been named yet, Rohit’s injury means that India should see a new opening combination. With Shikhar Dhawan also out injured, it paves the way for 20-year-old Mumbai batsman Prithvi Shaw to partner KL Rahul at the top of the order.
Shaw’s young career, which took flight with a century on Test debut against West Indies, was derailed by an ankle injury that he sustained in a warm-up match during the 2018-19 tour of Australia. He has since been out of national reckoning, as a consequence of a doping ban that only ended in November last year.
Rohit’s injury will also shake up India’s Nos.1 and 2 in the Test team, with Shaw, and potentially KL Rahul, in with a chance to reclaim the Test opener’s slot. Rahul hasn’t played Test cricket since last year’s tour of the West Indies, after a string of low scores pushed him out of favour. It opened the doors for Rohit and Mayank Agarwal to forge a successful partnership during India’s home season.
India play three ODIs and two Tests against New Zealand, starting with the first ODI in Hamilton on 5 February.
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