Stand-in captain KL Rahul and spinner Kuldeep Yadav were ruled out of the five-match T20 International series against South Africa, the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced on Wednesday.
The first match of the series is scheduled to be played in Delhi on Thursday.
While Rahul suffered a right groin injury, Yadav will miss out on the series after getting hit on his right hand while batting in the nets on Tuesday evening, as per the BCCI release.
Rishabh Pant, who was named as vice-captain of India’s original squad for the series, will take over as captain of the team in Rahul’s absence. While Hardik Pandya, who led Gujarat Titans to the Indian Premier League 2022 title recently, was named vice-captain.
“It’s a great feeling, especially getting an opportunity like this in your hometown, (no) bigger opportunity than that and I will make the most of it,” 24-year-old Pant said ahead of the first T20I.
Pant added that his performance would be bolstered by the experience of leading Delhi.
“It will help me a lot because when you keep on doing the same thing over a period of time you tend to improve,” he said.
“I am someone who keeps learning from my mistakes, and I think that’s what is going to help me in the coming days.”
Rahul had an impressive IPL 2022 campaign for Lucknow Super Giants, who played their first season of the T20 competition along with Gujarat Titans. Leading the side, the right-handed opener scored 616 runs in the season at an average of 51.33 and a strike-rate of 135.38. He was the second-highest run-scorer in the season, behind Rajasthan Royals opener Jos Buttler.
Yadav, meanwhile, also had a fine IPL season with Delhi Capitals. The left-arm wrist spinner finished as the fifth-highest wicket-taker in the season, picking 21 wickets in 14 games with an economy-rate of 8.43.
“The selection committee has not named a replacement for KL Rahul and Kuldeep Yadav. Both the cricketers will now report to the NCA where the medical team will assess them further and decide on the future course of treatment,” stated the BCCI.
India’s updated squad: Rishabh Pant (Captain)(wk), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik.