Rohit Sharma was promoted to the role of the vice captain for India’s Test team while Ravindra Jadeja was among the notable absentees from the squad named for the three-match series in South Africa.
Rohit was also named as the ODI captain for the side going forward as well as taking the role in T20Is, meaning that the Virat Kohli captaincy era in white-ball formats is now over.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India on Wednesday announced an 18-member squad, to be led by Virat Kohli, for the upcoming Test series in South Africa.
The BCCI press release stated that the following players were not available for selection due to injuries and are currently undergoing rehabilitation: Ravindra Jadeja, Shubman Gill, Axar Patel, Rahul Chahar.
“The All-India Senior Selection Committee also decided to name Mr Rohit Sharma as the Captain of the ODI & T20I teams going forward,” said the BCCI release signed off by Jay Shah.
With Rohit’s promotion in two formats, Ajinkya Rahane has been relieved of his duties as Test vice captain but he retained his place in the squad. Questions have been raised about his form in recent times, but Rahane was handed the captaincy in Kanpur against New Zealand when Kohli was rested. The Mumbaikar missed the second Test with what the BCCI said was a minor hamstring strain.
Jadeja and Ishant had also missed the second Test in Mumbai, but the pacer has made it to the primary squad despite question marks over his form and fitness too.
India will play Test matches in Centurion, Johannesburg and Cape Town on their tour of South Africa which starts later this month.
The first world championship Test will start at SuperSport Park in Centurion on December 26.
The second Test will be played at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg from January 3-7 with the final Test scheduled for Newlands in Cape Town from January 11-15.
India squad for Test series in South Africa:
Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Wriddhiman Saha(wicketkeeper), R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj
Standby players: Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswalla.
Among the notable returnees to the squad are Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, India’s first-choice pacers. Rishabh Pant also returns from a rest while Hanuma Vihari, who is currently in South Africa as part of the India A squad, returns to the fold as well. Shreyas Iyer and Mayank Agarwal keep their places while Rohit will presumably be reunited with KL Rahul at the top of the order, after the latter missed the Tests against New Zealand.
The Test series will be followed by three One-Day Internationals, the first two in Paarl on January 19 and 21 and the third at Newlands on January 23.
The one-day matches will be part of the International Cricket Council’s World Cup Super League.
India, who earlier on Monday completed a Test series win against New Zealand in Mumbai, are expected to travel to South Africa by chartered flight and will go straight into bio-secure accommodation in the Gauteng region for the first two Tests.
The tour was originally scheduled to start on December 17 and continue until January 26, with four T20 internationals to be played after the one-day games. It was announced last week the tour would be delayed and shortened to remove T20Is because of the coronavirus situation and the Omicron variant concerns.
The T20 internationals will be played later in 2022.
Meanwhile, pacer Duanne Olivier was named in a 21-man South African squad for the Test series against India. The 29-year-old had signed a Kolpak deal with Yorkshire in 2019 and declared that he wanted to qualify for England. He spent three seasons with the English county.
The 21 players named by Cricket South Africa provide cover in all departments in case of injuries.
The players will go into a bio-secure environment for the duration of the Test series.
There are six uncapped players in an expanded squad, including three fast bowlers in Glenton Stuurman, Marco Jansen and Sisanda Magala. Other uncapped players are batsmen Sarel Erwee and Ryan Rickelton and off-spinner Prenelan Subrayen.
South Africa squad for Test series:
Dean Elgar (capt), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Sarel Erwee, Beuran Hendricks, Marco Jansen, George Linde, Sisanda Magala, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Duanne Olivier, Keegan Petersen, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Glenton Stuurman, Prenelan Subrayen, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne (wkt).
December 26-30, first Test, Centurion
January 3-7, second Test, Johannesburg
January 11-15, third Test, Cape Town
January 19, first ODI, Paarl
January 21, second ODI, Paarl
January 23, third ODI, Cape Town
(With inputs from AFP)