Suryakumar Yadav continues as T20I captain on South Africa tour, KL Rahul to lead in ODIs
KL Rahul will serve as stand-in skipper for Rohit Sharma who has been rested for the white-ball leg of the tour|
The Indian men's cricket team's chief selector Ajit Agarkar on Thursday revealed the contingent that would travel to South Africa in December for three T20Is and ODIs, as well as two Tests. A host of first-team regulars have been named in the T20I squad alongside a second-string ODI side.
India's regular skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli's break is set to extend through the limited-overs phase of the side's upcoming tour of South Africa upon request, with the duo only made available for selection for the two Tests. However, Rahul Dravid, fresh off a contract extension, would return to take charge of the side in the all-format tour after having handed over the reins to NCA chief VVS Laxman for the T20I series against Australia following a runners-up finish at the ODI World Cup.
First-team regulars Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, and Shreyas Iyer would join their head coach for the T20Is with Suryakumar Yadav continuing as skipper given Hardik Pandya's unavailability due to an ankle injury. The quintet also features in the Test side while Ajinkya Rahane, Jaydev Unadkat, and Srikar Bharat lost out after an underwhelming Caribbean tour earlier in the year. Prasidh Krishna, meanwhile, earned a call-up for the longest format having already played 17 ODIs and five T20Is while Mukesh Kumar retained his place after impressing against the West Indies. The duo could play a key role should Mohammed Shami, currently undergoing medical treatment, fail to recover in time.
In the absence of Rohit, KL Rahul would lead the Men in Blue in the ODI series, as was the case in South Africa last year when the team had suffered a 3-0 whitewash. Nevertheless, the wicket-keeper batter has captained four ODIs since, most recently in a series against Australia ahead of the World Cup, guiding them to victory on all those occasions. The veteran would be at the helm of a largely inexperienced squad as the focus shifts on World T20 2024 with the next 50-over marquee event not scheduled until 2025.
After a breakthrough season with Gujarat Titans, Sai Sudharsan earned a maiden national call-up for ODIs while Madhya Pradesh batter Rajat Patidar received his third, with both gunning to make their India debuts on the tour. After impressive performances in the early part of their T20I careers, Tilak Varma and Rinku Singh have also made their way to the ODI squads. Sanju Samson and Yuzvendra Chahal return to the mix following their World Cup snubs alongside another opportunity for three capped pacers Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, and Deepak Chahar.
The tour kicks off on December 10 with a T20I in Durban, followed by a T20I and ODI each at Gqebehra (formerly Port Elizabeth) and Johannesburg, before capping off the white-ball leg with the third ODI in Paarl on December 21. The two-Test series, officially known as the Freedom Trophy, would mark the beginning of the latest World Test Championship cycle for South Africa while India already got their first points on board with a win and a draw in the Caribbean in July. Centurion is slated to play host to the traditional Boxing Day encounter before the tour-ending clash in Cape Town, beginning January 3.
India’s squad for 2 Tests: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (wk), KL Rahul (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Mohd. Shami (subject to fitness), Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Prasidh Krishna.
India’s squad for 3 T20Is: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav (C), Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (wk), Jitesh Sharma (wk), Ravindra Jadeja (VC), Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Deepak Chahar.
India’s squad for 3 ODIs: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sai Sudharsan, Tilak Varma, Rajat Patidar, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (C)(wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar.