KL Rahul to lead India squad in SA ODI; Rohit ruled out

KL Rahul to lead India in South Africa ODI series, Rohit Sharma ruled out

The ODI series begins on January 19 after the test series in which India lead 1-0

KL Rahul. Credit: PTI Photo

December 2021 will go down as one of the most memorable months for K L Rahul. Less than a fortnight after being named the stand-in deputy of the Indian Test team, the stylish right-hander, who is a regular white-ball vice-captain, was on Friday chosen the skipper for the ODI series in South Africa, with chief selector Chetan Sharma saying his committee is looking at grooming him as a ‘future’ leader.

“Yes definitely,” said Chetan in a virtual press conference when asked if Rahul is being groomed as a future long-term India captain. “We are looking at KL at the present. He’s a three-format player and he got a good experience of captaincy. Most importantly, he has proved his leadership qualities which is what the selectors think. Rohit (Sharma) is not fit and we thought KL is the best person who can handle the side. We have good confidence in Rahul and grooming (him for the future).”

There weren’t many surprises in the 18-member squad for the three-match series starting in Paarl on January 19. Regular skipper Rohit, who is yet to recover completely from his hamstring injury, misses out while Jasprit Bumrah, another key member of the Indian side in all formats, has been elevated as the vice-captain.

The committee also went back to ace off-spinner R Ashwin, who made a stunning return to the T20 fold at the World Cup in UAE after having played his last ODI in 2017. Washington Sundar, who missed the T20 World Cup due to injury, also returned to the limited-overs fold.  

One major absentee is Mohammed Shami, who was instrumental in powering India to a brilliant win in the first Test at Centurion. Chetan said Shami has been rested as part of workload management and his committee is keen on rewarding players based on performances in the domestic circuit. 

“Shami we are resting him looking at the load management of the fast bowlers. We definitely will be playing him in the coming series. Axar (Patel) and (Ravindra) Jadeja, both are not fit. The selectors considered the performances of the players in domestic cricket which is the important thing.”

Team: KL Rahul (captain), Shikar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah (vice-captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj.

Schedule: 1st ODI: Jan 19 (Paarl); 2nd ODI: Jan 19 (Paarl); 3rd ODI: Jan 23 (Cape Town).

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