The 18-member Indian cricket team has been announced for the tour of South Africa. On this tour, the Indian team is set to lock horns in three Tests and three ODIs against the Proteas. There Earlier the series was to start from December 17, but due to the new variant of Coronavirus, the series was extended for a week. There were speculations that the tour may be called off due to the Omicron variant scare. But the BCCI has put all rumors to an end and gave a nod to the tour. The Indian Test squad For South Africa tour is announced today while the squad for the ODIs will be announced later.
Both Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have retained their place in the Test squad despite the underwhelming NZ Series. However, the Test vice-captaincy has been snatched from Rahane and handed over to Rohit Sharma.
Injury hassle for the selection committee
Ravindra Jadeja, Shubman Gill, Axar Patel, and Rahul Chahar were not available for selection due to injuries and are currently undergoing rehabilitation. The selection committee headed by former Indian cricketer Chetan Sharma along with Debashish Mohanty and Abey Kuruvilla has also announced the decision to name Rohit Sharma as the new ODI and T20 International captain. The National Selection Committee has appointed Rohit Sharma as the new captain in view of the 2024 ODI World Cup.
Hanuma Vihari, who is already playing for India A in South Africa, has also been selected in this team. Suryakumar Yadav, who was selected as the replacement of KL Rahul on the New Zealand tour, has not been able to find a place in the team. Despite poor form, fast bowler Ishant Sharma is named among the touring players.
The first Test will now be played at Centurion from December 26. However, there is no update regarding when the team will leave for South Africa. Under the leadership of Virat Kohli, the team will look to create history.
The Indian team is yet to win a Test series in South Africa. This tour is also going to be crucial for coach Rahul Dravid as India will be eyeing their first Test series victory in the Rainbow nation. The second Test will be played from January 3 while the last Test will be played from January 11. Kohli can reach the record of playing 100 Tests on tour. He has played 97 Tests so far and scored 27 tons.
Squad for the test series
Indian Test Team for South Africa Tour: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (Vice-Captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (WK), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammad Siraj.
Stand-By Players: Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagaswala.
Among the other major talking points from the meeting is the selection of Ajinkya Rahane. PTI has reported that Ajinkya is selected in the team because Pujara and Kohli are not among runs for a fair time now. And Rahane brings with him the much-needed experience along with him, which may prove viable in such tours.
“It would be grossly unfair to just target one player when two others have also been in equally horrendous form. Obviously Kohli is in a different league but for Rahane and Pujara, South Africa will be their last chance,”A senior BCCI official reported.