KL Rahul will lead India in the absence of top stars Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma next month in five Twenty20 Internationals against South Africa at home.

Several senior players including all-format captain Sharma will only return for the one-off Test in Birmingham beginning July 1 as India and England attempt to complete their unfinished five-match series, which India leads 2-1.

Squad selectors issued a call-up for pace sensation Umran Malik and left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh for the 18-member Twenty20 squad against South Africa.

Both Malik and Arshdeep have impressed with their stellar performances during the ongoing Indian Premier League.

Right-hand batsman Cheteshwar Pujara also received a callback for the 17-member Test squad on the back of his superb performance for Sussex in England’s County Championship, while wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik earned a place in the 18-member Twenty20 team.

All-format seamer Jasprit Bumrah has also been rested for the Twenty20 series, which begins June 9 in New Delhi, but earned a spot in the Test squad.

India under Sharma will be playing at full strength in the crucial Test match against England, which had been scheduled for last September at Old Trafford but was postponed following the outbreak of Covid-19 cases in the Indian camp.

Here are some reactions to the squads announced:

(With inputs from AFP)