In another significant move, the BCCI declared on Saturday that it has made KL Rahul the stand-in vice-captain of the test team for the upcoming series in South Africa. This decision is being seen as a call to the future since the board has started looking for the next leader from amongst the current batch of Indian players who will lead the side soon. This is mainly because the board understands that both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are in the final phase of their respective cricket careers and preparations should be made for the honing of the next leader of the side.
KL Rahul was the unanimous choice of the selection committee mainly because of his current form. Rahul has been in fine touch throughout this playing season. He was the highest scorer for his side in this year’s IPL. He also performed brilliantly in the away Test series against England in June.
India Lined Up To Face South Africa In Both Tests And ODIs
The Indian team will be facing the Proteas in a 3-match Test series starting on Boxing Day, December 26. This first test match will be played at the Centurion ground. The second match will see the sides collide in Johannesburg from January 3, while the third and final Test will be played in Cape Town from January 11. Following the test series, the Indian side will remain in South Africa for a further 3-match ODI series.
Indian Test Squad For Series Versus South Africa
Virat Kohli (C), KL Rahul (V-C), Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Priyank Panchal, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammad Siraj.
Fresh New Face To Replace Rohit Sharma In The Test Squad
Due to the unfortunate exclusion of Rohit Sharma from the side because of his injury troubles, the BCCI selection committee has inducted Gujarat batsman Priyank Panchal into the squad. He has been a revelation on the domestic front and led the India A team successfully in its recently-concluded Tour of South Africa. Having already played on the South African grounds, he is expected to open the innings along with either Mayank Agarwal or KL Rahul.
Rohit Sharma Undergoing Rehabilitation At The NCA
India’s T20 and ODI skipper, Rohit Sharma, had picked up an injury in his left hamstring last week and is currently undergoing his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. This created the vacancy in the leadership positions of the Indian team. This is the second time in two years that Sharma has seen himself out of a series due to a hamstring injury. The same happened in 2020 before India travelled to Australia for an ODI tournament.
Selectors Not Confident About Giving The Role To Ajinkya Rahane
With Rohit Sharma out of the equation, the BCCI was weighing its options for the appointment of a new vice-captain. But Rahane’s present form got him out of the running for the post. Rahane had been Kohli’s deputy in the test format for quite a while. This was changed after the conclusion of the recent test series against New Zealand. Rahane has been struggling to find his touch for a long time now and has fared poorly this season with the bat. Since the board believes that a leader should lead by example, Rahane dropped out of its good books.
The BCCI also looked at Rishabh Pant for the job, but he was deemed to be a little inexperienced for the important role. Even Cheteshwar Pujara was considered for the vice-captaincy. However, it has been learnt that Pujara’s poor run of form in the current season also ruled him out of contention.
BCCI Has Full Faith In Rahul’s Abilities To Lead
The BCCI also made an official statement concerning the appointment of KL Rahul as stand-in vice-captain for the South African test series. The statement reads- “The All-India Senior selection committee has named KL Rahul as vice-captain for the upcoming 3-match Test series against South Africa. KL Rahul replaces Rohit Sharma as vice-captain, who was ruled out of the Test series owing to a hamstring injury.”
KL Rahul has witnessed his meteoric ascendency on the national side this year. The board believes that he is of the right age and has the adequate experience to fill in the shoes of the team leaders. This will go a long way in determining who takes over the mantle of the team once either Kohli or Sharma retires from the game. He has played a total of 40 tests and has scored almost 2500 runs. Rahul has been a solid rock in the opening slot for a while now and is looking to improve even further in the coming years.