India’s newly appointed Test vice captain Rohit Sharma has been ruled out of the upcoming Test series in South Africa due to a left hamstring injury, the Board of Control for Cricket in India confirmed on Monday.

Gujarat’s Priyank Panchal, who has been in South Africa as part of the India A squad and led the side initially, has been named as Rohit’s replacement.

“India Test vice-captain Rohit Sharma sustained a left hamstring injury during his training session here in Mumbai yesterday. He has been ruled out of the upcoming 3-match Test series against South Africa. Priyank Panchal will replace Rohit Sharma in the Test squad,” the BCCI statement signed by secretary Jay Shah read.

Rohit was named as Virat Kohli’s deputy for red-ball cricket as well as being promoted to captaincy in ODI and T20I cricket going forward. Kohli will helm the three-Test series in South Africa starting December 26 – a tour delayed and shortened because of fears over the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

According to an earlier PTI report, Rohit had been hit in the hands in the nets but the BCCI release confirmed it is a hamstring issue. Rohit has had hamstring troubles in the past as well. No further official details were provided the Board regarding the extent of the injury.

“Yes, Rohit did suffer an injury on his hand but even after that he had batted,” a BCCI source told PTI. “So we can presume that hand injury isn’t serious. But thereafter, it seemed the old hamstring problem resurfaced once again and it might take some time before he is fully fit and available.”

The selection committee had named Ajinkya Rahane in the squad despite the veteran batsman’s recent dry spell with the bat. Rahane had missed the second Test against New Zealand in Mumbai due to a reported hamstring niggle.

Ravindra Jadeja, Shubman Gill, Axar Patel and Rahul Chahar were already unavailable due to various injuries, the BCCI had said.

There is no confirmation from the BCCI yet on whether a new vice-captain will be appointed, as the press release did not name one.

India’s Test squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Priyank Panchal, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Md. Siraj

Standby players as per original selection : Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswalla.


December 26-30, first Test, Centurion

January 3-7, second Test, Johannesburg

January 11-15, third Test, Cape Town