Rohit Sharma is all set to take over the leadership duty of the Men in Blue in the limited overs format. The board has decided to divide the leadership role between the Tests and limited-overs format. India will tour South Africa for three Tests and equal One-day internationals.
The tour to South Africa was supposed to be a full-fledged affair with added T20 Internationals, which were later canceled. The team for the Tests was announced on the 8th of December, coupled with another important announcement.
Ravindra Jadeja, Shubhman Gill, and Axar Patel missed out due to injuries. Whereas, the test regulars have made a comeback after missing out on the Test series against New Zealand. Jasprit Bumrah made his Test debut when India last toured the African country in 2017.
The board selected a team of 18 players, with four others who will serve as stand-by.
A New Captain
Virat Kohli stepped down from the T20 captaincy earlier this year. The picture on his captaincy in the ODIs was still ambiguous. The board cleared the air by relieving the Test skipper of his limited-overs responsibilities.
Rohit Sharma, who has captained India in 10 One Day Internationals to date, will take over as the next full-time captain of the team. The 34-year old has an impressive 80% win record in the 50 over format.
A new Deputy in Tests
India’s regular deputy in the longest format, Ajinkya Rahane, has been struggling for a while for runs. After his hundred at the MCG earlier this year, the Mumbai batter has failed to score consistently.
The lack of runs in the two series against England, at home and away, did not help him either. The senior batter was ‘rested’ from the second Test against New Zealand.
Rohit Sharma will serve as the deputy to skipper Kohli in the whites for India.
The All-Rounder Conundrum
Hardik Pandya was team India’s bet for the all-rounder in Tests for the longest period. However, his form and inability to bowl have kept him on the sidelines of the national squad.
With Ravindra Jadeja out of the squad due to injury, Shardul Thakur will have an added responsibility in the lower middle order. Ravi Ashwin, as the bowling all-rounder will also be crucial in that role.
India will start as favorites against the Proteas on paper. However, the South African team will have the advantage of home conditions. After winning away series in Australia and almost ‘winning’ another in England, India will try and end the season on a high.
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